EMC releases upgraded Clariion, Celerra storage units

EMC Corp. has officially launched its upgraded Clariion andCelerra midrange storage systems adding a new storage management tool, VMwareintegration, and native Fibre Channel over Ethernet (FCoE) connectivity.

The company’s Unisphere management software will integratewith VMware’s vCenter platform as well as VMware vSphere and vStorage API’s forArray Integration. EMC said the management tool will not only help with virtualmachine storage support, but it will also greatly reduce the amount of clicks astorage administrator needs to perform common tasks.

Jon Siegal, director of productmarketing at EMC, said Unisphere will provide a single dashboard for theunified management of storage area network (SAN) and network-attached storage(NAS).

“We’ve also added built-in accessto an online community where customers can collaboration in discussion forums(with EMC experts and other customers),” he said.

The management tool will supportexisting Clariion and Celerra systems, the company added.

Along with Unisphere, EMC willadd its Fully Automated Tiering (FAST) technology to the midrange systems. TheFAST technology will bring caching and data compression features to the Clariionand Celerra and will enable the systems to automatically move data betweenvarious storage tiers during application workload spikes.

John Sloan, a research analystwith London,Ont.-based Info-Tech Research Group Ltd., said the announcements show EMCintention to be a “fast follower” in the market. He said the company isanswering NetApp Inc. with the launch of the Unisphere management platform andCompellent Technologies Inc. with the automated tiering addition.

“One of the criticisms of EMCover the years is their pieces don’t fit together that well because they eachhad their own management console,” he said.

“They’re not breaking any newground here, but they’re saying ‘we’re the leader and we’re going to stay theleader,’” Sloan added.

While EMC previewed the Unisphereand FAST updates at its annual EMC World conference in May, the company alsounveiled some new features on Tuesday.

The company said it issimplifying connectivity to high speed networks by adding “plug-and-play”native FCoE support to Clariion and Celerra. The move will help boost theadoption of FCoE in the market, Siegal said.

“FCoE is about the ability tosupport server and storage I/O over a single cable,” he said. “The ability tohave a single way to manage that through a single system is only going to helpadoption. It’s all about consolidation.”

Brian Garrett, vice-president covering server, storage, datamanagement and security at the Enterprise Strategy Group’s ESG Lab, said theFCoE integration aims to provide a path forward for IT shops that have alreadyplaced a “big bet” on fibre channel storage.

He added that the move signals EMC’s intention to bring itswhole ecosystem together for organizations who want their fibre channelinvestments more converged.

In addition to native FCoE support, EMC announced that the CelerraVG2 and VG8 will be the first midrange storage NAS products to use IntelCorp.’s new “Westmere” technology. Siegal said customers will automatically seedouble the performance improvement from previously generations.

All of the product upgrades, withthe exception of native FCoE support, are now available to customers. The FCoEaddition will be made available in the fourth quarter of 2010.

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