EMC Unveils Products, Pushes Storage Networks

NEW YORK (04/25/2000) - EMC Corp. made a strong move today to pad its already comfortable lead in the high-end storage systems market, trotting out a mix of hardware, software, and communications products including what company officials believe is the industry's fastest storage system.

The centerpiece of the announcement here was the Symmetrix 8000 series of storage systems capable of holding 19.1 terabytes of data, or just shy of doubling the capacity of that line's predecessor. Company officials believe the new system offers a strong alternative to traditional server-based systems, which, he believes, are slowly becoming antiquated.

"Servers will continue to play a role for things like data processing, but increasingly we see it as a commodities market. We don't think we will be investing much in them in the future," said Mike Ruettgers, EMC's CEO during a presentation here.

Ruettgers added that he believes the market for infrastructure information products, in which EMC is one of the dominating players, will reach $78 billion by 2003.

The new system and its companion products are intended to expand EMC's E-Infostructure, a company-wide initiative to help corporate users to scale e-businesses, integrate those businesses with existing systems, and have it all managed from a central location.

Some users were impressed with the new hardware and supporting software, not just with what they saw as the strength of the products, but also with EMC's continued push toward technical innovation compared to some of its competitors.

"This is a pretty impressive display of technology shown off today. But its also impressive how the company continues to stay ahead of the curve compared to its competitors. I don't think anyone is close to what they can offer right now," said Bill Sheehan, a LAN administrator with a New York bank, one of the EMC's largest banking customers.

Showing off the Hopkinton, Massachusetts-based company's market lead, Ruettgers quoted numbers from industry analysts that showed EMC currently owning a 51 percent share of the multi-connected storage market, distantly followed by Hitachi with 14, IBM 11 percent, and Hewlett-Packard with 3 percent.

The new products are steps towards technology breakthroughs that will be in common use by many large IT shops by the year 2003. Some of those predictions by Ruettgers and members of his executive included:

-- a typical corporate account will have one pedabyte of data available online.

-- most servers will not have hard drives with most data networked to a central storage location.

Along with the Symmetrix 8000 series EMC also took the wraps off a new version of its Clariion storage system, which for the first time can work hand-in-glove with EMC's Enterprise Storage Networks.

The company also introduced a new line of its Celerra network-attached file server that also has tighter integration with the EMC Enterprise Storage Network. The product now supports switched Fibre Channel and several industry-standard backup protocols.

EMC also trotted out an improved line of EMC Connectrix departmental switches and several new features for its switched-based Connectrix enterprise director.

Also unveiled today was a juiced-up version of the company's Enginuity Operating Environment, which serves as the foundation for a lot of necessary software capabilities in the enterprise, including advanced data protection, high-performance data movement, and load balancing.

The products are available immediately.

EMC Corp., in Hopkinton, Massachusetts, is at www.emc.com.

Ed Scannell is an InfoWorld editor at large.

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