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2/2/2007
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EMC Kicks Off With Security

'Robust' product refresh cycle begins, with RSA security built into Symmetrix

EMC will use the RSA Security Conference in San Francisco next week to unveil technologies from its $2.1 billion security acquisition built into its storage systems. (See EMC Secures RSA for $2.1B.)

Next week's announcements will be the first of several enhancements EMC is expected to make this month to its high-end Symmetrix and midrange Clariion storage platforms and affiliated software. EMC has not confirmed any of the products, but industry sources and EMC marketing materials acquired by Byte and Switch spell out the moves. And on EMC's earnings conference call January 23, CEO Joe Tucci said his company was prepping a "robust" product refresh cycle with security integrated into multiple platforms. (See Tucci Aims for 'One EMC'.)

Other announcements will follow, including mainframe disaster recovery software; Symmetrix support for 4-Gbit/s Fibre Channel and RAID 6; a new entry-level Clarrion CX3 system; and network-based asynchronous replication for Clariion based on technology acquired from Kashya last year. (See EMC Coughs Up for Kashya.)

While EMC is merely catching up with RAID 6- and 4-Gbit/s support, at least one of next week's announcements show the vendor is also beginning to integrate technology from a few of its 2006 acquisitions. Example: The Symmetrix Service Credential -- the first RSA technology integrated into EMC storage -- due for unveiling next week.

Service Credential is designed to prevent unauthorized service actions on Symmetrix systems. It provides identity authorization through a user password and encrypted credential that varies by user, time, system, and the user's assigned role. EMC will also add audit logging to track all service and maintenance activity on a Symmetrix for compliance.

The upgraded Symmetrix operating system will also support RAID 6, allowing a system to survive two failed drives in a RAID group without downtime. The need for RAID 6 is greater with the low-cost Fibre Channel drives EMC offers with Symmetrix because those drives are more apt to fail and take longer to rebuild.

Still, EMC is hardly leading edge with its support of RAID 6. Most of its top competitors, as well as a host of smaller vendors, have supported it for many months. (See RAID 6, Take 2.)

EMC will officially announce Symmetrix 4-Gbit/s Fibre Channel support on the front end, although that has been available since last fall. The 4-Gbit/s support lets customers increase the number of hosts they connect to the system, but back-end support to disk remains at 2 Gbit/s.

Clariion and most other midrange systems already support end-to-end 4-Gbit/s Fibre Channel. (See HDS PrepsTagmaStore, Ponders Sun and EMC Uncages 4-Gig Clariions.) With regard to other high-end systems, IBM supports 4 Gbit/s on its DS8000 high-end system, and Hitachi Data Systems is planning 4 Gbit/s for its next TagmaStore release.

Later this month, EMC will launch Geographically Dispersed Disaster Restart (GDDR), its answer for IBM's Geographically Dispersed Parallel Sysplex (GDPS) software for automating disaster recovery on mainframes. Like GDPS, GDDR saves administrators from having to write customer scripts to perform failover and failback after outages.

The Clariion CX3-10 will also follow later in the month. The CX3-10 has 2 Gbytes of cache and supports up to 60 disks, 512 LUNs, and 64 high-availability hosts. That compares to 4 Gbytes of cache, 120 disks, 1,024 LUNs, and 128 hosts in the next-smallest CX3 system, the CX3-20. EMC will position the CX3-10 for midsize enterprises, or departments or branch offices of large enterprises. The new system will support Fibre Channel and SATA drives in one system.

EMC will also launch RecoverPoint/SE Continuous Remote Replication (CRR) software specifically for Clariion systems. RecoverPoint, based on Kashya technology, provides continuous data protection (CDP) along with remote replication.

— Dave Raffo, News Editor, Byte and Switch

  • EMC Corp. (NYSE: EMC)
  • Hitachi Data Systems (HDS)
  • IBM Corp. (NYSE: IBM)

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