EMC enhances Symmetrix DMX

During the recent flurry of product announcements, EMC Corp. made good on a number of additions and enhancements promised for its Symmetrix DMX enterprise disk storage line, among them a new feature that the company said will make data replication less expensive and possible over any distance.

Replication, the process in which data is copied from one storage device to another, has become a hot topic in government as agencies look for ways to reduce their vulnerability to system disruptions.

EMC announced a new version of its Symmetrix Remote Data Facility replication product called SRDF/A, the "A" standing for asynchronous. With prices starting at $20,000, the software lets customers who have EMC's Symmetric DMX disk arrays use standard Internet Protocol networks to transport the data copies across virtually any distance. With the previous generation synchronous SRDF product, the two disk systems involved in a replication could be no more than 100 kilometers apart, unless customers bought a separate channel extension device available from companies like CNT or Nortel Networks Ltd.

"By using SRDF/A and our new Gigabit Ethernet support, customers won't need to buy and manage a separate box to extend that connection," said Chuck Hollis, EMC's vice president of platforms marketing. "There will also be no performance penalty for doing long distance replication."

Among the other announcements EMC made include:

* Two new models — a new low and high end — in the flagship Symmetrix DMX line. At the entry level, there is a new configuration of the DMX800, which at $284,000 is 30 percent cheaper than the first DMX800 model introduced last February. The 800s share all the attributes of the bigger DMX boxes.

*On the high end, EMC introduced the DMX3000, listing for $1.7 million. Sporting up to 576 drives for a maximum raw capacity of more than 84 TB, the DMX3000 offers twice the capacity and up to twice the performance for certain applications, compared with the Symmetrix DMX2000, the previous top-of-the-line model introduced earlier in the year, according to the company.

* Native iSCSI support. All Symmetrix DMX disks systems now offer native support for iSCSI, which lets customers connect the systems using standard Internet Protocol networks like Gigabit Ethernet instead of the more expensive Fibre Channel gear traditionally used to build storage networks

* Support for mainframe Fiber Connectivity (FICON). The entire line of DMX systems can now be connected to IBM mainframes using FICON, a connectivity method that is much faster than the older Enterprise Systems Connection (ESCON) technology.

All the new products will be available next month.

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