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User says Nexsan edges out EMC on price, performance

Manhattan Diagnostic Radiology picks Nexsan's SATA storage to replace EMC Clariion arrays. Updated: 11/30 12:15pm.

Manhattan Diagnostic Radiology (MDR) has selected Nexsan Technologies' SATABeast as primary storage replacing older EMC Corp. Clariion CX-300s, now relegated to a backup role. The switch in products provided MDR with better performance at one-third the cost of EMC storage, the company claimed.

MDR, located on Manhattan's Upper East Side in New York City, employs 13 radiologists and sees about 300 patients a day. It's storing a total of 90,000 studies and 25 million images, including the usual Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI), mammography and cardiovascular diagnostic pictures, as well as other specialist images for a total of 75 terabytes (TB).

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"With the EMC systems, access time to imaging studies was between four and five minutes, but with SATABeast, access is now almost instantaneous," said Joseph Gomez, IT director at MDR. We're getting a read-performance improvement of 5% to 15% at one-third the cost of EMC storage," he added. In May, 2005, MDR spent $80,000 on 5 TB from EMC and in September 2006, paid $50,000 for 21 TB from Nexsan.

Another factor in the firm's decision to go with Nexsan was the compact size of the product. The SATABeast scales to 210 TB in a single rack versus a much larger footprint for the same capacity from EMC, according to Gomez. "Real estate is prime in New York City … EMC required so much space, and that gets very expensive." EMC dropped its price a little bit to try and keep the contract, but it was still too much, according to Gomez. The Clariion arrays are being phased out of primary storage and into a backup role.


Customer support

MDR processes standardized DICOM images using a buffer system and read-ahead processes that are demanding on its storage arrays. It's also migrating 200,000 images per day onto the SATABeast from legacy DVD PACS systems.

"We have programmers that can do the interface between our PACS system and the storage, but we need detailed technical support on the storage side," Gomez noted. MDR found Nexsan more helpful in this regard. "EMC was sometimes more secretive than we would like … like how the product actually works, stores images, how the buffer works, the information was harder to get," Gomez said.

MDR is also phasing out its use of LTO for backup and will be deploying Nexsan at its remote locations instead. This will be up and running early next year. RADirect, a value-added reseller based in Mahwah, N.J., sold MDR the Nexsan gear.

EMC declined to comment for this article. However, it's worth noting that MDR replaced an older model of Clariion that's still shipping but is not the latest refresh of the product, which provides 4 Gbps support and Quality of Service management features, such as throughput throttling on a LUN-by-LUN basis, not available from Nexsan.


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