EMC issues Clariion call for iSCSI

Partner Dell will also add iSCSI product to its storage lineup

EMC entered the iSCSI (Internet SCSI) SAN market with a bang last week, rolling out a new range of Clariion arrays that use IP technology.

And EMC won’t be alone, as key Clariion partner Dell will also add the product to its lineup of storage offerings.

The new iSCSI Clariion arrays -- the AX100i, CX300i, and CX500i -- will mirror the AX100, CX300, and CX500 Fibre Channel versions. Prices will be the same, but IT departments will save money because the iSCSI versions do not require Fibre Channel fabric components such as HBAs, cabling, and switches. There will be a performance cost, however, as the iSCSI products have about half the I/O performance of their Fibre Channel counterparts.

The entry-level AX100i holds as many as 12 SATA drives, for as much as 3TB of storage. The workgroup or small-department CX300i accommodates as many as 60 drives -- either Fibre Channel or ATA -- at 320GB each. The datacenter-class CX500i hold as many as 120 320GB drives. The CX700 high-end array will not come in iSCSI form.

“Customers may use iSCSI to attach servers to internal storage or direct-attached storage instead of using Fibre because of the costs of the HBA and switch ports,” said Tom Joyce, vice president of storage platforms marketing at EMC.

Demand for IP-based SANs is expected to grow, as small organizations and remote workgroups implement the technology. IDC predicts nearly 20 percent of the revenue in the sub-$15,000 external storage array market will come from iSCSI technology this year. “Small organizations and workgroups that see SAN technology as too complex or expensive are more likely to use iSCSI because it is easier to deploy,” said Tony Asaro, an analyst at Enterprise Strategy Group. 

Support for iSCSI is not new at EMC, as the company already offers support for the standard on its Symmetrix DMX systems, Connectrix switches, and Celerra and NetWin systems. EMC rivals IBM and Network Appliance already offer similar products that support iSCSI. Last year, for example, IBM delivered the DS300, an iSCSI-based SAN controller. NetApp has also had several products in the iSCSI space for years, according to Rich Clifton, vice president of SAN/iSAN business at NetApp. “I think we’re basically saying, ‘Welcome to the party.’ It kind of validates the market we have been in for some time,” he said.

Priced at $5,995, the AX100i, based on SATA disks, is available now. The Dell/EMC version of the AX100i is also available and is priced at $4,999.