Dell, EMC roll out low-cost SAN device

Clariion storage device gives SMBs the benefits of networked storage

EMC Corp. introduced a new Clariion storage device Wednesday in partnership with Dell Inc. and other vendors that will allow small and medium-size businesses to get the benefits of networked storage for under $10,000.

The Clariion AX100, formerly code-named Piranha, was unveiled at a press conference in London with EMC President and Chief Executive Officer Joe Tucci and Dell President and Chief Operating Officer Kevin Rollins.

Dell is EMC's largest storage partner, accounting for about one-third of the total sales of the Clariion product line, Tucci said. Companies such as Fujitsu Siemens Computers (Holding) BV, Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. and Bull SA will also distribute the AX100, but Dell's version of the device was highlighted during the press conference.

A Dell/EMC AX100 storage array comes with 480GB of storage supplied by Serial ATA (advanced technology attachment) disk drives, and can scale up to 3TB of storage, Rollins said. It comes in a 2U (3.5-inch) rack-mounted chassis.

Customers can purchase a direct-attached version of the AX100 through Dell for $4,999, or a SAN (storage area network) configuration for $9,999. It will be available worldwide through Dell starting June 7, and is available immediately through EMC's channels and sales force.

The growing storage needs of small businesses often require networked storage, but SANs are expensive and difficult to set up and manage, Rollins said. Dell and EMC hope to bring the benefits of networked storage to this market by reducing acquisition costs and making it possible for an amateur IT staffer at a small business to install and manage a SAN, he said.

"We fully expect this product to change the storage industry by increasing the number of customers able to use networked storage," Rollins said during a Web cast of the press conference.

Networked storage devices can share storage resources and improve backup efficiency compared to dedicated storage devices attached to servers that do not communicate with each other.

Storage management software comes with every AX100, allowing novice technicians to configure the storage devices and manage backup and recovery processes, Rollins said.

The AX100 breaks new ground for EMC, Tucci said. The Framingham company has traditionally sold its products into large enterprises, but the growing success of EMC's partnership with Dell is allowing it to reach into new markets such as the small and medium-size business, he said.