EMC touts SAN box as bargain

EMC Corp. is expected to bolster its network-attached storage system lineup with an inexpensive, clustered midrange box and rules-based replication software that lets customers automatically distribute files over the network.

The EMC Celerra NS600 is a rack-mountable NAS server that uses much the same technology as the company’s storage-area network (SAN)/NAS gateways – the Celerra Clustered Network Server (CNS)/Clariion CX600 and Celerra CNS/Symmetrix – and is as much as 40 per cent less expensive than equivalent NAS boxes from Network Appliance.

The company also is announcing software that provides a rules-based method for distributing files or data between any remote Windows, Unix or Linux NAS appliance or file server and the Celerra NS600 and CNS boxes using an IP network.

EMC says that the NS600 is also half the cost and half the size of its Celerra CNS/Clariion CX600 gateway because it eliminates a lot of the hardware that attaches the CNS to the network and the back-end Fibre Channel SAN. Available in capacities from 1TB to 11TB, the NS600 comes in two models: a clustered high-availability version and a performance model that uses the additional unclustered capacity and controllers to speed performance.

“From a customer standpoint, the market is driven by price at this time,” said Peter Werner, president of Storage, Security and Networks Consulting. “The NS600 is ideal in a file services environment. The price points are very attractive, and the performance is good.” Werner has an NS600 with 3 to 4TB of capacity.

“The NS600 gives EMC a very solid midrange NAS product that fits in with the rest of their family,” said Peter Gerr, an analyst with Enterprise Storage Group Inc. “It is an attractive product for departments and workgroups in the enterprise and does it in an inexpensive manner.”

The NS600 is strictly a NAS device, unlike EMC’s Celerra CNS boxes, which can handle either block- or file-level data. The NS600 can handle only file-level Windows Common Information File System or Unix/Linux Network File System data. It can be managed from a Windows, Web or Unix command-line interface.

The file distribution software, called OnCourse, lets Celerra systems push or pull files from remote file servers and NAS devices, using a series of administrator-controlled rules to dictate how data is transferred across the WAN.

“The ability to simply and securely move data from or to heterogeneous systems is important,” Gerr said. “The software is very robust and has centralized management and the ability to apply policies based on size, type or application that can affect data movement between locations. It can really improve the price/performance of moving large amounts of data.”

The NSS600 competes with Network Appliance’s FAS940 and FAS940C file servers, which perform as NAS appliances, or optionally as SAN/NAS gateways. It is 40 per cent less expensive than Network Appliance Inc.’s clustered FAS940 C, which costs about US$294,300. Network Appliance’s unclustered FAS940 costs about US$132,300 compared with EMC’s performance model NS600 at US$168,000.

The high-availability NSS600 is available now starting at US$167,000 for 1TB capacity.