EMC adds new array, Ficon/iSCSI support on DMX line

EMC Corp. plans to unveil on Wednesday a new high-end Symmetrix array, as well as upgrades to its DMX800, DMX1000 and DMX2000 arrays that include native Ficon mainframe connectivity and Internet SCSI (iSCSI) for connecting low-end servers to high-end storage for backup.

EMC said it will begin shipping its new high-end DMX3000 array with 192 to 576 drives and up to 84TB of capacity, creating what it called its densest architecture yet in a three-bay configuration. The array, which has twice the performance and capacity of the DMX2000, will also be available with a new version of Symmetrix Remote Data Facility (SRDF), offering asynchronous replication over thousands of miles for disaster recovery.

EMC said the DMX3000 will become generally available in September, but SRDF/Asynchronous over IP is available immediately for all of EMC’s DMX arrays.

Mark Popolano, CIO at American International Group Inc. (AIG) in New York, said he plans to use EMC’s SRDF/A software to replicate data over 1,500 miles as part of a redundant set of storage-area networks (SAN) he’s building in New Jersey and Texas for disaster recovery and business continuity. Popolano expects to install about 280TB of storage capacity on EMC DMX1000 and 2000 arrays as part of the multimillion-dollar SAN buildout.

Popolano said he is particularly pleased with EMC’s support of Ficon because he will be using the new arrays to back up not only his Windows NT and Unix environment, but also mainframes producing “several thousand MIPS.”

“The SAN also positions us closer to a utility model, which is what we’re moving toward. Now, we’ll have SAN-attached storage, and next we’ll look at virtualization of our servers,” Popolano said, referring to the pooling of server resources across a network.

EMC said its SRDF/A software will reduce bandwidth consumption by 30 per cent by mirroring delta sets of data every 15 to 30 seconds instead of constantly updating ordered writes, said Chuck Hollis, vice president of platforms marketing at EMC. The company also added snap copy functions to the line of storage servers for live backup of data without disrupting service.

“This is two years’ worth of road map being released in six months,” Hollis said.

Chuck Standerfer, an analyst at Evaluator Group Inc. in Denver, said the most impressive part of EMC’s announcement this week is that it means the company will have met commitments made six months ago when it first introduced the DMX line, including Ficon-native array which boosts throughput from 17MBps with the older Escon protocol to 200MBps.

EMC also said it has built native iSCSI ports into its DMX line, which will allow systems administrators to attach low-cost servers to a SAN using IP over Ethernet, something that previously required a Fibre Channel host bus adapter that could cost anywhere from US$800 to US$1,200 – or twice that amount to have fail-over capabilities.

Hollis said the server controllers will come with four external ports that will allow users to mix and match data transport protocols among Ficon, Gigabit Ethernet and iSCSI.

Like the company’s entire DMX storage server line, which was introduced in February, the DMX3000 will have 128 dedicated paths between channel directors and internal caches. The arrays boosted internal bandwidth from 1.6GB in previous Symmetrix array models to 64GB.

EMC, however, said it has upgraded the Symmetrix operating system, Enginuity 5670, which can now allow users to perform software upgrades and reconfigurations and add hardware without any disruption in service.

EMC said it is also reducing the cost of its entry-level DMX800 array by 30 per cent, from US$450,000 to US$284,000. The rack-mountable DMX800 scales from eight to 16 front-end ports and from 1.2TB to 17.5TB of raw capacity. It can also scale from 4GB to 32GB of cache for open-systems environments.

The Symmetrix DMX1000 is a single-bay system that scales from eight to 48 front-end ports, from 3.5TB to 21TB of raw capacity (3TB to 18.5TB usable) and from 4GB to 64GB of cache for mainframe and open-systems environments.

The Symmetrix DMX2000 is a dual-bay system that scales from eight to 96 front-end ports, from 7TB to 42TB raw capacity (6.1TB to 37TB usable) and from 8GB to 128GB of cache for mainframe and open-systems environments.