EMC upgrades Clariion design

Under pressure from users to boost its midrange hardware performance and functionality, EMC announced Wednesday that it has upgraded the internal architecture of its Clariion arrays, bumping up capacity and adding higher-end functions including data migration both inside and outside the box.

EMC said its Clariion CX300, CX500 and CX700 models now include new UltraPoint hardware and software technology that combines point-to-point connectivity to individual disk drives with advanced diagnostics. Clariion's internal disk drives had been connected to its dual controllers via an arbitrated loop architecture, which in the past could be a bottleneck for I/O.

"As the drives have evolved and grown in capacity, there are new failure modes that have cropped up where a drive can interfere with its neighbor on the loop," said Barry Ader, senior director of Clariion marketing at EMC.

EMC said it has also added virtual LUN technology to the Clariion array line, allowing users to move data volumes within the array system between Fibre Channel or ATA disks without disrupting applications.

Astolfo Rueda, a network administrator at law firm Preston Gates & Ellis has been beta-testing the virtual LUN technology in two Clariion arrays for three months. So far, Rueda said, it has worked flawlessly and saved storage administrators huge amounts of time.

Each week, Rueda has to move data around in his Clariions to load-balance work requirements. Before the upgrades, he had to perform what he referred to as "robo copies," using the Windows NT command line utility to move data one file at a time.

"We've gone from days to move data to minutes," he said. "The hosts [servers] don't even know what hits them. It just happens, and you don't have to [shut down] the host."

Rueda said the upgrades have made the Clariion CX series more like EMC's high-end Symmetrix.

EMC said it also upgraded is SANCopy software to allow the Clariion arrays to copy data from one system to another. The application supports copies to other Clariions and Symmetrix arrays, as well as copies to arrays from IBM, Hewlett-Packard, Sun Microsystems and Hitachi Data Systems. And it has upgraded its Flare operating system with new drive-level fault detection, isolation and diagnosis capabilities.

EMC also unveiled four new models of its Clariion Disk Library. The company's new generation of arrays for data archiving now offer more than twice the capacity of previous models, Ader said. The DL310 offers a maximum 37.5TB, and the DL710 now offers up to 174TB. EMC also introduced dual engine models of its libraries for fail-over capabilities; Those models include the DL720 with 174TB capacity and the DL740, with up to 340TB capacity.

In addition to those announcements, EMC also said it has upgraded its SnapView and MirrorView replication applications to support twice as many LUN transfers, from 100 to 200 replicas at a time. EMC's entry-level AX100 array also received an upgrade with SAN Copy/E, which allows data replication to larger CX series storage systems.

Ader said the new software allows the movement of data from remote offices to core data centers for centralized backup, recovery and reporting over a WAN. The AX100 can also support EMC's Navisphere Manager, which allows systems administrators to centrally manage both AX100 systems and CX Series systems from a single, Web-based management console.

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