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EMC finally ready to consolidate Clariion, Celerra midrange platforms

As EMC counts down the seconds to its product launch set for next Tuesday, details have leaked about its upcoming and long-awaited unified storage system combining the Clariion and Celerra platforms.

According to published reports and other leaks, EMC is preparing to launch a VNX family of products that includes code from the Clariion Flare and Celerra Dart operating systems on a common hardware platform. The new systems include several midrange models – the VNX 5100, VNX 5300, VNX 5500 and VNX 7500 – as well as VNXe 3100 and VNXe3300 SMB systems. The systems will be available as block storage, file storage, or unified systems. The midrange systems were code-named Culham and the SMB systems went by the code-name Neo.

The midrange systems will support Fibre Channel, iSCSI and Fibre Channel over Ethernet (FCoE) block storage and CIFS, NFS, MPFS and pNFS on the file side. The SMB systems support iSCSI, CIFS and NFS.

The midrange systems will include the management features EMC rolled out for the Clariion earlier this year – including FAST automated tiering and block compression – as well as Clariion’s data protection software.

On the hardware side, there is one notable departure from existing EMC systems. The new systems will not support Fibre Channel hard drives. The midrange family supports Flash solid state drives (SSDs) and SAS for performance and nearline (NL)-SAS for capacity. The SMB systems support SAS and NL-SAS.

All the new systems will support VMware integration with the vStorage API for Array Integration (VAAI) and Virtual Storage Integrator (VSI).

None of the new systems are surprises. EMC executives admitted last April that they would converge the Clariion SAN and Celerra NAS platforms, after denying a consolidation move was under way when talk first began circulating. EMC added a Unisphere unified management console for the two platforms last year. And EMC CEO Joe Tucci began teasing the new SMB system last July.

The big question now about Tuesday’s launch is whether it will include other products. EMC is believed to be close to rolling out new Data Domain, VPlex and Isilon systems, but the timing of those releases is unclear.

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