EMC plans biggest midrange storage server yet

EMC Corp. on Monday will introduce a storage server that sits between its current midrange and high-end product lines, according to company documents obtained by IDG News Service.

The Clariion CX600 will be EMC's largest midrange system yet. The storage giant boasts that the new system will have three times the processing power and bandwidth of its current FC4700 Clariion product, according to the documents, which EMC confirmed were authentic. The new Clariion product also will come with some of the high-end software found on EMC's Symmetrix line.

EMC, in Hopkinton, Massachusetts, has teamed with Dell Computer Corp. to sell the Clariion systems, and both companies could benefit from a more powerful, diverse midrange lineup, according to one analyst.

"We estimate that the midmarket currently represents over 60 percent of the addressable market for external storage, encompassing small and medium companies and IT workgroups and departments within enterprises," wrote Tony Sacconaghi, senior research analyst at Sanford C. Bernstein & Co. LLC, in a research note released Friday. "Given the wide disparity in price points within the midmarket, we believe product segmentation and niche focus will be key to EMC's success in the midrange."

The CX600 will have four 2GHz processors, as compared to the four 733MHz chips in the FC4700. The new system also will have triple the internal bandwidth, twice the number of external Fibre Channel connections and quadruple the cache of the FC4700, according to the documents.

Having a more powerful midrange array will give EMC and Dell customers more choice in their SAN (storage area network) environments. The better performance could be critical for applications such as streaming media, data mirroring, ERP (enterprise resource planning) and CRM (customer relationship management), EMC said.

EMC also will make its PowerPath, DB Tuner, SnapView and MirrorView management software packages work on the new system.

The larger system, equipped with these software packages, should help EMC compete more effectively against rivals such as IBM Corp. and Hewlett-Packard Co., Sacconaghi wrote.

"We believe a higher-end midrange Clariion would help the company defend its share versus IBM's low-cost Shark array and HP's modular storage arrays," he wrote.

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