EMC Launches Highly Competitive CLARiiON Storage System

The CLARiiON CX600 provides competitive performance and functionality compared with other modular storage arrays at a price attractive to enterprises looking for midtier systems.


On 12 August 2002, EMC announced the CLARiiON CX600, a midtier storage system available immediately from EMC and resellers, including Dell Computer, Fujitsu and, soon, Unisys. The main features of the CX600 are: Improved performance, resulting from four 2GHz Pentium 4 processors Use of 2Gbps Fibre Channel technology throughout Eight front-end optical ports delivering up to 200Mbps throughput Up to 17.5TB of storage, using 73GB drives (currently the largest available) 8GB of cache

First Take

The CX600 is the first of several CLARiiON models that will give EMC a range of modular products. It costs about 15 per cent more than the CLARiiON FC4700, but with three times the performance. EMC claims it is the performance leader against other modular products from the likes of IBM and Hewlett-Packard (HP), and that it costs 15 per cent less than comparable HP StorageWorks systems.

Although its software can manage all earlier CLARiiONs, the CX600 is not compatible with existing CLARiiON drives and cabinets, removing the option of upgrading by replacing controller boards (but few customers did this). The CX600 is 50 per cent denser with 15 drives per tray, and can be configured with multiple units per rack.

The CX600 uses Power Path and other software used on EMC’s Symmetrix systems, signaling that EMC sees Power Path as one of its strategic software tools. A common software structure for both its ranges provides EMC with an advantage over IBM and HP, both of which have two ranges of disk systems with separate software tools for each.

Increased capabilities in virtualization, snapshots and remote replication, and a full range of platform support, allow EMC to claim it has taken over functional leadership from Compaq Computer’s MA/EMA series. Hewlett-Packard’s Enterprise Virtual Array (EVA) will provide some better functionality than the CX600, but many of the announced features will not ship until year-end 2002.

EMC’s partnership with Dell (branded as the Dell/EMC CX600) provides EMC with a direct channel to small and midsized business and government markets. Dell will market the CX600 to many HP (Compaq) customers that EMC could not reach.

Enterprises looking for midtier storage systems should consider the CX600, which, compared with IBM and HP products, is highly competitive in terms of performance, features and price. The management tool compatibility across CLARiiON and Symmetrix systems means that enterprises can choose EMC products best suited for a range of needs.

Analytical Source: Robert Passmore, Gartner Research

Recommended Reading and Related Research “EMC Updates and Extends Midrange With CLARiiON FC4700” – Enterprises should consider the FC4700, but should proceed cautiously until the reliability of the considerable new code in the product has been proved. By Robert Passmore “Compaq’s ‘Enterprise’ High-End StorageWorks Subsystem” – StorageWorks Enterprise offers several new controller-based features and will provide intense competition to high-end monolithic subsystems and, in particular, to storage area networks. By Josh Krischer and Robert Passmore

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