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As expected, EMC rolled out a sweeping set of hardware upgrades today (Feb 9). Just about every product line was touched by the refresh, including Symmetrix, Clariion, Celerra and Centera systems.

EMC's attention to the hardware side of the house comes as good news for customers, after the company spent the last few months refining its software strategy.

First up, EMC retooled the Symmetrix DMX box to come up with the DMX-2. The new system has twice the processing power and cache memory capacity as its predecessor. With the new kit, EMC beat out Hitachi with a new high-end system.

One of the key feature additions to the DMX-2 is EMC's introduction of AutoSwap technology. This tool is similar to IBM's Geographically Dispersed Parallel Sysplex (GDPS) software, which lets users redirect mainframe storage workloads without interrupting application processing. The list price for AutoSwap is $200,000 for a typical configuration.

On the Clariion front, EMC replaced its current line of CX200, CX400 and CX600 systems with the new CX300, CX500 and CX700 boxes. EMC has kept prices for the new kit the same but expects users will see anywhere from 25 percent to 100 percent better performance.

For both the Symmetrix and Clariion servers, EMC has also released the new Celerra NS700G and NS700 NAS (network attached storage) gateways. These products help add network attached storage functions to the higher-end Fibre Channel-based kit from EMC.

EMC additionally tuned its Centera fixed content storage systems to work in tandem with mainframes. The Centera systems also received a major performance boost and improved data replication speeds.

EMC knows how to conduct a product launch in style. The broad nature of this launch is an impressive feat for EMC to pull off and a challenge to competitors. EMC has managed to align the release cycles of its high-end, midrange and low-end gear, making it easier for customers to plan upgrades. In addition, the company proved it has not been distracted by the busy software side of the house.

If EMC can unite the software lines of newly acquired Documentum, VMware and Legato, it will start sending shivers up rivals' spines. ®

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