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EMC strengthens armour for SMB offensive

Announces raft of new products

Comment EMC has announced several new products targeted at mid-market enterprises seeking to more effectively consolidate, backup, archive, and protect their information.

The new offerings include the EMC CLARiiON CX3-10 UltraScale networked storage system; new EMC RecoverPoint/SE software for mid-tier storage environments; and three offerings for mid-market organisations wishing to consolidate, back up, archive, and protect Microsoft SQL Server 2005, Microsoft Exchange 2003, and Oracle RAC 10g environments.

The EMC CLARiiON CX3-10 represents a new entry point into 4GB/s networked storage systems, can scale to 30TB, features Fibre Channel and iSCSI connectivity within the same array, and supports a mix of Fibre Channel and SATA disk drives.

The new EMC RecoverPoint/SE software is designed for network-based replication between any two CLARiiON CX and/or CLARiiON CX3 UltraScale systems in Windows environments. Organisations can define policies to manage their recovery time objectives across a wide range of key business applications, including coordinated and consistent recovery of Windows applications such as Microsoft Exchange and SQL Server.

The EMC Reference Architectures and Assessment Services for Microsoft Exchange 2003, Microsoft SQL Server 2005, and Oracle RAC 10g provide EMC partners with documented blueprints and best practices for implementing consolidation, backup, and disaster recovery solutions for midsize customers.

These EMC best practices also address how to incorporate important Microsoft or Oracle application functionality to complete the solution. The EMC CLARiiON CX3-10 system, EMC RecoverPoint/SE software, and the new EMC Reference Architectures and Assessment Services are available immediately.

Recently, there have been several storage announcements, including these from EMC, as well as other small to mid-market solutions from Coraid and Fujitsu Siemens. While each was offering a solution for the SMB space, each one was very different in its approach and capabilities, and the degree of strategic value offered varied widely.

The CLARiiON CX3-10 is an excellent example of a product that, while more modest in scale than its larger siblings, still delivers a strategic solution for an organisation that would benefit from a rich palette of storage functionality and flexibility without necessitating the purchase of what would be empty spindles.

The ability to mix and match iSCSI and Fiber connectivity along with SATA and FC drives affords flexibility in cost as well as the opportunity to construct a multi-tiered environment within a single array.

The richness of EMC supporting software such as Navisphere Suite, Navisphere Task Bar, Navisphere QoS Manager, and SAN Copy, among others, is a key differentiation the company is increasingly playing to its advantage. This is not just in the high-end market, but also in the other market segments where plenty of potential customers are to be found.

Another illustration of this is the new RecoverPoint/SE offering. Mid-market and smaller organisations rarely, if ever, have the luxury of storage specialists on call, let alone inhouse. The IT professionals more often than not are generalists who are conversant in the Microsoft world of operating systems and procedures.

Nevertheless, the value proposition of consolidate, backup, archive, and protect is very straightforward, even for the IT generalist. The familiar environment delivered by RecoverPoint/SE is likely to be well received by said organisations and their IT staff as each endeavour to meet the needs of their business operations.

Further, organisations that are searching for an upgrade or refresh of their existing storage solution may find the Reference Architectures and Assessment Services for SQL Server, Exchange, and RAC 10g improve the whole purchase decision and customer experience.

Any new installation is risk-prone and SMBs are among the most risk-adverse customers. Nevertheless, the need for technological reliability remains unabated, so anything that assuages the fear of IT professionals and their management is typically a good thing. The tried, tested, and true approach of blue prints and best practices not only reduce the risk of deployment, but can shorten the time involved as the business partner and the customer are working from a tested base of knowledge and technology that was designed from the onset to work together.

Given the prevalence of SQL Server, Exchange Server, or Oracle RAC 10g in SMBs, we believe the focus on these platforms was a wise move on the part of EMC as it offers its channel partners more armament in their quest to develop the burgeoning SMB opportunity.

Overall, we are pleased to see EMC's continued efforts in delivering rich storage solutions that not only scale to the peaks of the IT mountain, but also deliver cost-effective value to those who may thrive in the lower scale of storage spectrum.

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