EMC takes aim at midrange with new storage systems

EMC Corp. is expected to announce Monday three new storage arrays designed to let midsize companies gain the benefits of more expensive, high-end systems, analysts say.

The company is set to roll out three Symmetrix subsystems, one of which, the Symmetrix 8230, is suitable for installation at mid-size customers, analysts say. The company will introduce the Symmetrix 8230, which contains up to 3.5 terabytes of data, the Symmetrix 8530, with up to 17.4 terabytes of data, and the Symmetrix 8830, with up to 69.5 terabytes of data.

The most significant piece of the announcement is the size of the Symmetrix 8230. "It looks as if EMC is going to price the 8230 just above Clariion (a midrange offering EMC gained with its purchase of Data General), but really create some buzz in that mid-tier," says Steve Duplessie, an analyst with the Enterprise Storage Group in Milford, Mass. "A lot of people like the high-end availability characteristics of the Symmetrix, but until now, that has been priced for only the big boys. It's a great move in terms of EMC's ability to go in with very high end product to take mid-range market share."

The new Symmetrix subsystems will run all the software that ships with current Symmetrix units, including the Symmetric Data Replication Facility and TimeFinder. They will also contain a Global Cache Director which allows parallel processing of data in cache, faster performance, up to 22 storage-area network (SAN) connections and more processors, sources say. For instance, the new Symmetrix subsystems have up to 64G bytes of cache memory and also support FiCON, an IBM standard for connecting mainframe computers to open system SANs.

The Symmetrix 8230, 8530 and 8830 are also field-upgradable, allowing users to add storage components or disk capacity as necessary. Pricing is not yet available.

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