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EMC's DMX whips Clariion on innovation, survey says

A study by TheInfoPro shows dissatisfaction among Clariion users, while the DMX continues to get high scores.

In a recent vendor ratings study undertaken by research firm TheInfoPro, EMC's DMX storage array faired considerably better with users than its Clariion products on a number of different issues.

The New York-based research company interviewed 155 Fortune 1000 companies between June and Sept. this year on their spending plans for 2005, and also asked them to rate their experiences with certain products.

EMC's ratings varied widely between the Clariion midrange line and its high-end DMX system. "The Clariion gets a much poorer response overall," said Ken Male, founder and analyst at TheInfoPro.

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On technical innovation, for example, the DMX gets full marks, whereas Clariion gets a thumbs down. Likewise with product quality. The DMX scores highly but Clariion barely gets a rating. Neither product scores well on interoperability. The survey does not go into the details of these results, but it does tally with a recent poll that asked respondents to cast their votes on the cost, functionality and ease of use of midrange systems.

Approximately 62% of respondents said that software functionality is lower in midrange systems than high-end products, 29% saw no difference and 8% were unsure. Half the respondents to the poll said that management between midrange and high-end systems is difficult, 16% said they didn't know and 33% said it was OK. The majority voted that midrange products are cheaper to manage than high-end systems where operational costs are concerned.

Users who took part in TheInfoPro study agreed to be quoted under condition of anonymity. Here are some of their responses:

  • "With the move to tiered storage, we will implement less EMC DMX. The Clariion class will increase... Their software is dragging them down in my eyes. The hardware is good, albeit proprietary."

  • "While EMC is strategic for us, the Clariion is very tactical as we are looking to reduce the cost of storage and provide a tier. Clariion is not distinguishing itself in our eyes as the tier 2 of choice. It really does not work well with the DMX, limited interoperability and some buggy code."

  • "We just completed a large deal for Q2 of '04 with EMC and saved significant money by unbundling -- we saved in the millions. EMC's blending of hardware and software was not giving us a good price. We basically dissected everything, broke apart the old bundled per megabyte and gigabyte, and now will only pay by components in the future. We are introducing more Clariion into the order and paying less; we know we will pay more with DMX."

A spokesman for EMC noted that there may be a bias from larger companies that are used to the functionality of the DMX who are not getting the same experience with the Clariion. "If they -- TheInfoPro -- are talking to Fortune 100 folks, these guys aren't so familiar with Clariion," the spokesman said. He added that users with bug issues should make sure they are running the latest version of the microcode.

His comments come on the heels of IBM's launch of its DS8000 and DS6000, two completely different systems that run the same software functionality across both platforms.

While the TheInfoPro's results are interesting, they seem to contradict EMC's reported growth in the midrange market. During its last quarterly conference call, EMC revealed substantial growth in its Clariion line with sales of $355 million, up from $228 million a year earlier.

In a statement provided over e-mail, Mike Wytenus, EMC's senior director of Clariion marketing, said, "Engineering is intensely focused on continuous improvement in the areas of service, ease of use and new functions to support increasing demand from customers for larger and more complex networked storage deployments. We are pleased with our customers' acceptance of the Clariion products, are comfortable with the level of system stability we are experiencing, and our competency to service and support this rapidly growing install base." He added that Clariion continues to take share from key competitors.

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