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ComputerWire: IT Industry Intelligence

EMC Corp is continuing its descent into the midrange of the storage market with the launch of the smallest ever full-function storage array in the company's midrange Clariion line-up.

Like other Clariion arrays, the CX400 launched this week by EMC will be resold by Dell Computer Corp, which has been instrumental in EMC's recent focus on the mid-range market. EMC said there will be another new Clariion launched before the end of the first quarter next year. That box will continue the progression down-market, the company hinted heavily.

When sold by Dell, the CX400 will carry a badge reading "Dell EMC," as do the other Clarions that Dell is already reselling. Dell said it is targeting customers with 2,500 to 10,000 employees - "mid-sized customers in a sector EMC hasn't traditionally focused on."

Although EMC and Dell are negotiating a deal which will allow Dell to make Clariion arrays in its own factories under license from EMC, that deal has yet to be implemented. Neither company would say when it would be.

The CX400 can be considered as a refresh and long-term replacement for existing Clarrion products, as well as a new product pushing the overall range further downmarket.

It will carry list prices starting at $66,000, and will have a maximum capacity of just 4TB. The larger Clariion CX600 array launched in August can hold four times as many disk drives and has a maximum capacity of 17TB.

"You could call the CX600 the old man, and the CX400 the teenager. They share almost everything, and this gives us a family of products," said EMC vice president Joe Schwartz. Although Clariion storage arrays have shared common components before, EMC is stressing the much increased commonality for the two CX products now on the market, and is promising that the packaging will be used in other products.

The CX400 can be upgraded non-disruptively to become a CX600, by replacing the two-off 800MHz Pentium array controllers with four controllers, allowing more cache and arrays to be fitted to the cabinet. A CX400 can handle up to 2GB of cache memory, 60 drives, 512 LUNs, 64 hosts per array, four ports per array, delivering according to EMC 60,000 IOPs or 680MB/sec throughput.

The $66,000 list starting price for the CX400 includes 180GB of storage capacity, licensing for Navisphere software, and installation and warranty fees. A 1TB configuration is listed at $94,000.

The CX400 undercuts the existing Clariion variants the FC4500, FC4700, which have maximum raw capacities of 18TB and 22TB respectively. These two boxes are all still being made, but are facing the end of their life. Among other factors they do not support the latest 2Gbit version of Fibre Channel. In its CX400 launch presentation, EMC compared the performance of the new box to that of the 4700. The CX400 can only handle half as many drives, but can handle twice as many LUNs, and delivers 25% more IOPs and double the MB/sec throughput.

EMC is also still making the 1Gbit FC5300, which is available in a deskside cabinet aimed at financial customers and holding just 10-off 73GB disk drives. The 5300 does not feature the mirroring and snapshotting functions of the remainder of the Clariion line-up.

© ComputerWire

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