EMC is targeting its new VNX line to compete with NetApp's Fabric-Attached Storage (FAS) line of products, which have been offering block- or file-level storage since they were released in 2008. NetApp has three FAS products, the entry-level FAS2000, the midrange FAS3000 and the high-end FAS6000 array.
"Today's EMC news is another example of the storage industry playing catch up to NetApp. While other companies are trying to plug holes in their existing portfolios to keep pace, NetApp continues to gain market share by innovating and delivering solutions built on a single, unified architecture that are optimized for shared infrastructures," Manish Goel, NetApp's executive vice president of products, said in a statement.
NetApp's line of FAS storage arrays all use the same Data ONTAP 8 operating system. Last year, the company also added what it called Unified Connect to its Data ONTAP 8, which offers administrators the ability to concurrently run a variety of Ethernet-based connections to its storage arrays, including Fibre Channel over Ethernet (FCoE), iSCSI, NFS or CIFS.
EMC also added the latter capability to its new VNX line of SAN/NAS arrays.
The entry-level VNXe is built on Intel's Westmere processor and is designed to have no single point of failure with dual power sources and support for dual-ported 6Gbit/sec. SAS drives. The array, which comes in 2U (3.5-in high) and 3U models, can hold up to 120 disk drives for a total capacity of 240TB. The VNXe takes the place of the Clariion AX4 iSCSI and NX4 Unified Storage System.
The VNXe comes with advanced features such as thin provisioning and file deduplication and decompression. It also has an integrated self-help tool that notifies users to failures within the system.
Pat Gelsinger, president and chief operating officer of EMC's information infrastructure products, said the new VNXe has the lowest cost entry point of any SAN/NAS array in the market. He compared prices to multi-protocol systems from NetApp, IBM, Dell and Hewlett-Packard, claiming they all sold for more than $10,000. However, a NetApp spokewoman discounted EMC's pricing, stating its entry-level FAS2000 system has a starting price of $7,920, for a single controller and 3TB of capacity.
EMC said it was releasing seven VNX products in all, ranging from two versions of the VNXe to the midrange VNX 5000 and 7000 series, which includes the VNX5100, VNX5300, VNX5500, VNX5700 and VNX7500.
The VNX7500 takes the place of the Clariion CX4-960 and Celerra NS-960 at the high end of EMC's midrange offerings. The VNX5000 systems takes the place of the CX4-480, CX4-240, CX4-120 and Clariion AX4 Fibre Channel array and NS-480, NS-120 Celerra arrays.
EMC's VNX7500 comes in at the upper end of EMC's midrange storage offerings. The VNX7500 scales to 1,000 drives or 2 petabytes of capacity, using a variety of storage, from solid state drives (SSD), serial SCSI (SAS) and serial ATA (SATA). EMC claims the array has three times the performance of previous generations of Clariion or Celerra arrays.
The VNX5000 and 7000 series, which is based on Intel's Xeon 5600 multicore processor, comes with EMC's Fully Automated Storage Tiering Virtual Provisioning (FAST-VP) software. In 2009, EMC began offering its FAST technology, which automates the movement of data onto either SSDs, SAS or SATA drives depending on the type of data and frequency of use, across its Symmetrix, Clariion and Celerra line of storage arrays.