EMC looks to appeal to SMBs with new wares


Storage vendor EMC Corp. recently released three new products that target small and medium-sized businesses (SMB) uneasy about the cost of setting up data storage systems.

The Hopkinton, Mass.-based company unveiled the CLARiiON CX3-10 UltraScale Fibre Channel and iSCSI System, the RecoverPoint/SE Software and the Application Reference Architecture.

One analyst thinks the CX3-10 in particular hits on several key SMB storage issues, especially given how lower costs associated with iSCSI may help to drive SMBs into data storage.

“One of the primary issues is management and administration cost — most SMBs will have an IT ‘guy’ without a dedicated storage admin function so you want to keep things that way without adding to IT headcount or costs,” said Warren Shiau, lead IT analyst at research firm The Strategic Counsel.

“A CX3-10-type system will do that, but a lot of SMBs won’t get to that if implementation costs are judged to be burdensome. That’s why the announcement is pushing the easy set-up messages — that’s what SMB needs.”

SMB data storage needs are driven by growth in information but a lack of staff or funds to support solutions tailored to larger organizations, said Katie Curtin-Mestre, director of CLARiiON product marketing at EMC.

Curtin-Mestre says the EMC products support applications like SQL Server or email.

“What we have found in talking to midsized businesses and in talking to these customers is their information infrastructure needs to be rock solid,” she said.

“Our focus is to help these customers manage their applications on a network storage system or to start to back up their data more effectively, so they can meet their objectives.”

Curtin-Mestre says EMC has made simplicity of set-up an important element of the CX3-10. The hardware employs options such as wizard-driven storage management, application quality of service management, replication software for non-disruptive backup, operational and disaster recovery and options for all-SATA configurations.

“This is a product for data protection and this is a good proof point of how customers can deploy an end-to-end solution to consolidate and protect their data,” she said.

The second product, RecoverPoint/SE, supports the CLARiiON CX and CX3 series with up to four terabytes of replicated capacity. The software platform also includes optional bandwidth reduction with lower ongoing link costs.

The final product, Application Reference Architectures, assists businesses working in Microsoft and Oracle environments to consolidate and support their data with such programs as Microsoft Exchange 2003, SQL Server 2003 and Oracle RAC 10g across solution stacks.

All three products have been designed with what EMC says are the goals of protecting, archiving, backing up and consolidating data.

Shiau says while there aren’t any potential issues with the product line, he thinks EMC’s product launch isn’t particularly innovative or unique for SMB.

“You will see other storage system vendors keying in on the same issues so the battle-points aren’t actually making something unique or innovative, instead they’re making things that are cost-effective, easy to manage, easy to implement and work,” he said.

“It’s a take care of the fundamentals-type of challenge in getting storage systems into SMB – so EMC product announcements will focus on this. In this respect, it’s a good announcement because it hits on those fundamentals.”

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