EMC will announce on Monday two new versions of its high-end Symmetrix array that will more than triple storage capacity, quadruple cache, and double internal and external throughput, according to sources. The array, however, isn’t expected to offer major improvements of some other features, such as virtualization and combined management features.
Sources said the seventh generation of Symmetrix, or Symm7, is expected to raise the bar in the storage industry by offering up to half a petabyte of storage capacity and mirrored cache for up to 1TB of memory.
The announcement comes months ahead of the scheduled release of the new Symmetrix array. EMC officials on Thursday were being coy, touting plans for “one of its most important announcements for 2005” on Monday. But Joe Tucci, CEO of the Hopkinton, Mass.-based company, said while discussing the company’s latest earnings report: "I invite you to visit the Webcast EMC will be offering on Monday at 8:30 AM EDT, which my marketing team has definitely instructed me to not tell you will be for the launch of Symm7."
Sources said the DMX 3500 and 4500 are expected to sport 4Gbit/sec. Fibre Channel ports on its front end and internal throughput speeds of 160GB per second. The DMX3000 EMC now sells, by comparison, offers throughput of 64GB per second.
According to a report released today by Shebly Seyrafi, an analyst at Merrill Lynch & Co. in New York, the DMX 3500 will hold up 1,440 disk drives for 432TB of storage capacity, and the DMX 4500 will have up to 1,920 drives for 576TB of capacity. By comparison, the DMX3000 has a maximum capacity of 172TB.
Arun Taneja, an analyst at Taneja Group in Hopkinton, Mass., wouldn’t comment specifically about EMC’s planned announcement other than to say the company is working to blur the lines between the midrange Clariion array and the new Symmetrix -- much as IBM joined its midrange and high-end systems under its DS series. The IBM product lines had previously been called the FAStT and Enterprise Storage Server.
“The monolithic elements are now being smashed,” Teneja said. “It's not that the Clariion line is being eliminated. They're going to be stretching things up and down and bringing DMX products into what would have normally been called the modular side. IBM did that first. Now, everybody else in the industry doing that.”
John Halamka, CIO at Boston-based CareGroup, polled his technology team on the expected Symmetrix improvements and said they “suspect replication between these two platforms [Symm7 and Clariion] will evolve as a function of the SAN-based solutions such as Invista.”
Invista is EMC’s virtualization platform, which will reside on EMC's own Connetrix switches, Cisco Systems's MDS line of switches and Brocade Communications Systems's multiprotocol switches.
Halamka said the combined management of Symm7 and Clariion hardware is a function of both the storage software management platforms and firmware-based replication.
“We never expected firmware replication between Clariion and Symm to come along at this time,” he said. “We would expect improvements in storage management tools to evolve under a new applications framework, which would provide a common look and feel to manage both Clariion and Symm, and in fact other storage platforms as well.”