EMC introduces Clariion disk library

New line of tape emulation devices speeds backup, recovery times

EMC Corp. on Monday will announce a new line of storage arrays designed to let customers replace tape-based backup systems with faster disk-based devices.

The new line, called the Clariion Disk Library (DL), will initially be comprised of the Clariion DL700 and DL300 disk libraries, which are based on EMC's Clariion CX700 and CX300 ATA (Advanced Technology Attachment) arrays.

Unlike the CX line, the DL arrays will come pre-configured with a server called a "tape library module" that will make the disk array appear as if it were a tape library, said Sean Kinney, a senior marketing manager with EMC. The module will emulate a number of existing tape devices, including Advanced Digital Information Corp.'s Scalar devices and StorageTechnology Corp.'s L-series and 9700 series tape libraries.

"A lot of people are interested in backing up to disk to make their tape backups go faster and better, but they don't want to change their libraries at all," said Kinney. Tape-based backup software will interact with the DL as if it were a tape device, but backup and recovery times will be significantly faster, he said.

"Backup performance is roughly 30 to 50 percent faster than the tape library," according to Kinney, and recovery speeds will be "at least 10 times faster."

"In the disk library, all the recovery data is sitting on disk. It's as if you copied from your C drive to your D drive," Kinney said.

Other vendors such as Quantum Corp. and Sepaton Inc. sell similar products, but with Monday's announcement, EMC becomes the largest company to sell these kinds of tape emulation devices, said Tony Asaro, a senior analyst with Enterprise Storage Group Inc., an industry research firm.

"They're the first major storage vendor to provide something like this," he said. "They've basically legitimized this as a solution."

Asaro's research has found that about half of IT managers expect to move all of their short-term backup to disk over the next few years. Products like the Clarion DL series will not necessarily replace tape libraries, but they will appeal to companies looking to speed up recovery times on some of this short-term data, he said.

The DL series appliances will begin shipping April 12, with a 500GB DL300 starting at $109,000. The DL700 starts at $241,000, with a 32TB configuration listing for $450,000, according to EMC. Customers will be able to purchase 3.7TB data modules for the devices for $41,500, the company said.

The DL series will work with IBM Corp.'s Tivoli Storage Manager, Legato Systems Inc.'s NetWorker, and Veritas Software Corp.'s NetBackup and Backup Exec backup software, and EMC is planning eventually to support a number of other backup products, the company said.