EMC storage takes aim at Unix, Windows users

EMC's Symmetrix storage servers have long been the domain of mainframe-heavy organisations such as banks and government departments, but the newest, modular offerings in the range aim to push down into the Unix and Windows markets.

EMC's three new products – the high-end Symmetrix DMX 1000 and 2000 and the rack-mountable Symmetrix DMX 800 -- boast a new architecture which, the company says, will see customers right for another 10 years.

Throughput has increased from 1.6GB to 64GB at the high end, says EMC, a claim disputed by rivals IBM and Hitachi as EMC is the only major storage vendor which doesn't participate in the Storage Performance Council (SPC), an independent testing body.

But while greater speeds and feeds are all very well, IT executives are concerned with delivering higher service levels for less money. DMX addresses this in several ways, says EMC Australia product manager Abie Gelbart.

- Performance. Systems need to be able to sustain a level of performance and handle bursts of traffic. Gelbart says EMC's old Mosaic architecture often takes a reasonably long time (minutes rather than seconds) to recover from a burst. "From an operational viewpoint, the person using the application [now] notices no effect, which helps to keep operational costs low."

- Compatibility. The operating system Engenuity is about 95% the same as in previous Symmetrix models and the APIs are the same. Clariion components -- rack, power supplies, disk drives -- can be used upgrading to DMX, while getting more cache memory, disk and back-end connections.

- Availability. The current Symmetrix range already claims no single point of failure, redundant components and memory and disk drive checking. In the DMX series EMC offers extra components -- triple rather than mirror.

- Consolidation. Additional power means companies can connect more servers to a single device.

- Modularity. The rack-mountable DMX 800 carries on from the high end of the Clariion range, the Clariion CX 600.

Gelbart says when deciding to take the step up from Clariion CX 600 and DMX 800 organisations need to consider the number of servers to be consolidated, if they have a performance consistency requirement such as running large applications like SAP or a mixed workload with lots of bursty traffic, the operating systems that must be supported and the level of availability needed.

List prices for DMX series range between $US400,000 to $US2.5 million.