EMC Expands, Upgrades Enterprise Storage Offerings

FRAMINGHAM (04/28/2000) - Enterprise storage managers and industry analysts greeted EMC Corp.'s next-generation product announcements last week with tempered approval.

Mike Ruettgers, CEO, and Jim Rothnie, senior vice president of product management, crowed about EMC's hold on the enterprise storage market with its Symmetrix product.

They also said their company is extending its lead because of IBM's recent announcement of delays delivering functionality on its competing Shark product.

"IBM's stumbles with its feature set allows EMC to capture even more of the market," said Randy Kerns, a partner at Evaluator Group Inc. in Englewood, Colorado.

The new Symmetrix 8000 box doubles to 19.1 terabytes the capacity of previous storage-area network devices from Hopkinton, Massachusetts-based EMC. The 8000 runs up to four times faster on all PowerPC processors as measured by its own benchmarks, EMC claimed.

"These are forklift upgrades," said John Webster, an analyst at Illuminata Inc. in Nashua, New Hampshire.

"The doubled capacity and performance are interesting, but not breathtaking," said Bob Zimmerman, an analyst at Giga Information Group Inc. in Santa Clara, California.

Symmetrix user Rich Ward, who is associate vice president of systems support at Keystone Mercy Health Plan in Philadelphia, said he is pleased with the increased capacity of the 8000.

"The fact [that EMC] extended the life of these frames makes it easier to manage" and adds more flexibility, Ward said.

The Symmetrix 8000 is the product that EMC was rumored to be delivering to some customers, said Kerns. However, its release is a little later than expected - EMC had promised it in last year's third quarter, Zimmerman said.

In other announcements:

-- The Symmetrix operating environment, MicroCode, renamed Enginuity, has been updated and engineered to facilitate development of third-party applications, EMC said. Enginuity has what Webster called "a few midlife kickers."

-- The new TimeFinder 4.1 software simultaneously supports up to eight production data versions online, and Symmetrix Remote Data Facility remote backup and restore tool operates over Fibre Channel. Both are backward-compatible with Symmetrix 5.

-- The Clariion midrange line from Data General Corp. in Westboro, Mass., which EMC bought last year, has been integrated into the EMC line as the new Clariion FC4500. The FC4500 connects to the SAN via EMC's Connectrix Fibre Channel switch.

One storage consultant suggested that EMC may be seeing losses in the DG installed base because of less expensive products from Xiotech Corp. in Eden Prairie, Minnesota, and MTI Technology Corp. in Anaheim, California. He said he recommends that clients use products from multiple vendors, partly to encourage EMC to negotiate on price.

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