EMC adds high-end array, new connectivity options

EMC Corp. this week upgraded its Symmetrix DMX disk array line by announcing plans to add a new high-end model plus native support for IBM’s Ficon mainframe connectivity technology and the low-cost Internet SCSI (iSCSI) storage interconnect.

EMC also introduced a new version of its Symmetrix Remote Data Facility (SRDF) software that supports asynchronous replication of data across distances of thousands of miles for disaster recovery purposes, plus a local replication product called EMC Snap that can create point-in-time copies of storage volumes.

The Hopkinton, Mass.-based company said the DMX3000 high-end array will support up to 84TB of raw storage capacity and 73.5TB of usable space. The new model offers twice the capacity of EMC’s existing DMX2000 array and is due to become available next month.

The SRDF/Asynchronous (SRDF/A) replication software is available immediately for use with all of the Symmetrix DMX arrays, as is EMC Snap. EMC said the built-in Ficon and iSCSI support is scheduled to be added in September, when the DMX3000 ships.

Mark Popolano, CIO at American International Group Inc. (AIG) in New York, said he plans to use SRDF/A to replicate data between redundant storage-area networks (SAN) that he’s building at data centers in New Jersey and Texas — a distance of about 1,500 miles. AIG expects to install about 280TB of storage capacity on EMC’s DMX1000 and DMX2000 arrays as part of the multimillion-dollar SAN project.

Popolano said he’s particularly pleased about EMC’s planned addition of Ficon support, because AIG will use the Symmetrix arrays to back up mainframes that have a combined performance level of “several thousand MIPS,” as well as Windows NT and Unix servers.

Using Less Bandwidth

The SRDF/A software can reduce bandwidth consumption by up to 30 per cent by mirroring delta sets of data every 15 to 30 seconds instead of constantly updating information as it’s written to disk drives, said Chuck Hollis, a vice-president at EMC. The company is also adding native Gigabit Ethernet connectivity to the SRDF technology for Symmetrix DMX, which lets users replicate data remotely without installing any channel conversion devices.

Chuck Standerfer, an analyst at Evaluator Group Inc. in Greenwood Village, Colo., said that many EMC users have been waiting for Ficon support, which boosts peak throughput between the disk arrays and mainframes from 17MBps. with IBM’s older Escon technology to 200MBps.

EMC said its new iSCSI ports will let systems administrators use IP-based SANs to attach low-end servers to Symmetrix DMX arrays for data backups. Such connections previously required SANs based on more costly Fibre Channel technology.

The company also announced an upgrade of the Symmetrix DMX line’s Enginuity operating software and a lower-cost configuration of the entry-level DMX800 array. The new offering costs 30 per cent less than the initial DMX800 model that was introduced in February, but it supports only about half the raw minimum storage capacity, EMC said.