EMC unveils Symmetrix 7, rebrands as DMX-3

EMC Corp. unveiled its Symmetrix DMX-3 high-end, storage-array system, previously code-named Symmetrix 7, Monday. The system will begin to ship in early September, according to company executives speaking on a conference call.

The DMX-3 system can store up to one petabyte of data and features increased processing power, internal bandwidth and new mirrored memory technology. It will also support the upcoming low-cost Fibre Channel (LC-FC) disk drives due to appear in the market early next year, according to David Donatelli, EMC’s executive vice president of storage platforms.

The new array will support a maximum of 960 disk drives and will be qualified to support up to 1,920 drives in the first half of 2006, he said. Come the second half of 2006, EMC expects the DMX-3 will support more than 2,000 disk drives, Donatelli added.

“Our great expectation is that DMX-3 maintains and grows our lead in the high-end storage market,” Joe Tucci, EMC president and chief executive officer (CEO), said. “Over time, we’ll see a bit more robustness in the high-end marketplace as a whole.” As the cost per terabyte of high-end storage becomes comparable to that offered by midrange systems, more customers will move up to high-end systems, he explained.

Tucci predicted that 15 percent of Symmetrix sales in EMC’s current third fiscal quarter will be of the new DMX-3 system. “We expect the ramp [from DMX-2 to DMX-3] to look very similar to the one from DMX-1 to DMX-2,” he said. “DMX-2 will continue to be offered in the marketplace,” with EMC expecting that many customers will maintain a combination of DMX-2 and DMX-3 systems, Tucci explained. There will likely be some cannibalization of the company’s existing DMX-2 systems with users of DMX-2 3000 arrays being be the first to adopt DMX-3 systems, he added.

Last week, EMC announced strong second-quarter financial results, reporting double-digit year-over-year revenue growth for the eighth consecutive quarter. The driving factors for the company’s success were sales of its midrange storage systems together with strong performances by its services business and its virtualization software VMware subsidiary.

Tucci expects the midrange storage array market where EMC has its Clariion products to continue to grow several times faster than the high-end market where Symmetrix plays. “We will push both lines with full vigor,” he said.

Over time, customers can expect to see more and more commonality between Clariion and Symmetrix, Tucci added. “Will they ever get to be exactly same architecture? Not in the near-term future or the mid-term,” he said. “There will be a lot of common components and common code, but at the core, they will still be a little bit different.”

The CEO stressed EMC has been listening to its customers, who have voiced concern over the way high-end storage vendors have traditionally released new hardware at the same time as new software, leading to support headaches as users struggle to have both hardware and software certified. DMX-3 runs on EMC’s existing Enginuity 5×71 operating environment, which the company released in October of last year, he said. In this way, customers can run DMX-1, DMX-2 and DMX-3 on the same software, according to Tucci

He revealed that EMC revisited its product launch strategy when it first released DMX-1 arrays in February 2003. At that time, after a huge internal debate, the company released the 800, 1000 and 2000 systems, but not the highest capacity array, the 3000. “We made a bad decision,” Tucci said.

“We should’ve introduced the 3000 first. We did it backwards. We’ve learned from our past.” This time around, with the DMX-3, EMC is releasing the top capacity system first, with lower capacity systems likely to appear over the coming months, he said.

EMC also announced two new data migration tools Monday. Open Migrator/LM is for users of Windows and Unix systems, while Logical Data Migration Facility (LDMF) is for mainframes users. EMC developed LDMF in partnership with Softek Storage Solutions Corp. and the tool enables the nondisruptive migration of mainframe data at the dataset level while applications are running, according to EMC’s Donatelli. “The LDMF feature is going to be a big win for us,” Tucci said.

Open Migrator/LM will ship in August. LDMF will appear in September and will be sold by Softek’s direct sales force in the U.S. and Europe. EMC didn’t provide specific pricing, but noted in a release that typical LDMF installations are expected to cost in “the low US$100,000s.”

EMC also didn’t release pricing details for the DMX-3 storage array.

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