EMC revamps Symmetrix product line

EMC Corp. last week revamped its Symmetrix line of storage systems with six new models of mainframe and open-systems products featuring new disk drives and other components that improve capacity and performance compared with the company's current systems.

The new lineup of integrated cache disk array systems includes three new models in EMC's 5000 line for the mainframe environment and three models in the 3000 line geared for the performance and budget requirements of open-systems users.

Last week's announcement brings a new entry level with the Symmetrix 3330 which stores 72G to 289G of data in six square feet with a list price beginning at $260 000. EMC also introduced a high-end system with the 5700 which can store almost 3 terabytes of data in a 17-square-foot cabinet and can cost as much as $3.4 million.

The new models all support EMC's Enterprise Storage Platform software which allows its products to store data from the mainframe and open-systems environments on the same machine.

"As [federal agencies] are moving to support new applications on their open systems and support applications on the mainframe they really will be able to take advantage of that Symmetrix system regardless of how they choose to allot their resources " said Doug Fierro manager of marketing programs at EMC Hopkinton Mass.

The new systems will be available from EMC on its General Services Administration schedule or through Unisys Federal Systems Division which signed a marketing agreement with EMC last November. Availability depends upon the specific system and configuration but all products will be shipping within 30 days EMC said.

New Technology

The six models - the low-end 5330 and 3330 the midrange 4530 and 3430 and the high-end 5700 and 3700 - all benefit from new technology EMC has integrated into the Symmetrix lineup. The low-end and midrange systems use new 3.5-inch 9G disk drives while the high-end systems use 5.25-inch 23G drives.

Additionally EMC added a second microprocessor on Symmetrix's input/output system boards which doubles the number of concurrent data transfers between the storage system and the host computer. The 5000 line offers eight to 16 concurrent I/Os depending on the model while the 3000 line offers 16 to 32 I/Os.

The new systems also use new Fast Wide Differential SCSI connections which can transfer data at 200 megabyte/sec between the Symmetrix controller and its disk devices.

Overall throughput has been improved with a new system bus that can transfer data at speeds up to 500 megabyte/sec - a 250 percent increase compared with bus throughput on existing models EMC said.According to Bob Fratarcangelo EMC's district manager for Defense agencies a number of customers already have expressed interest in upgrading to new systems particularly at the high end.

The new levels of capacity are well-suited for data mining and data warehouse applications which are of interest to a growing number of customers. The systems also will meet the requirements of data-intensive symmetric multiprocessing and massively parallel processing-based applications.

"There are applications waiting to be implemented that simply haven't had the technology today to make that happen " Fratarcangelo said.

Dave Vellante a senior vice president with International Data Corp. a Framingham Mass. market research and consulting firm said EMC has improved the performance and the breadth of its product line.

"Customer requirements are generally straightforward: fast high capacity and cheap " Vellante said."The smart thing EMC is doing is rather than taking one product and providing it to different people for different things they are segmenting the product line [based upon whether customers are] more price-sensitive or more performance-sensitive " Vellante said.

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