EMC pushes storage networks

EMC has made a strong move 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 centrepiece of the announcement was the Symmetrix 8000 series of storage systems capable of holding 19.1Tbytes of data, or just shy of doubling the capacity of that line's predecessor. Company officials believe the system offers a strong alternative to traditional server-based systems, which, they say, 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.

Ruettgers added that he believes the market for infrastructure information products, in which EMC is one of the dominating players, will reach $US78 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. The new products are steps towards technology breakthroughs that will be in common use by many large IT shops by the year 2003, company executives said. 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 has tighter integration with the EMC Enterprise Storage Network. The product now supports switched Fibre Channel and several industry-standard backup protocols.

EMC also upgraded its Connectrix departmental switches and several new features for its switched-based Connectrix enterprise director.