EMC Combines Clariion, Celerra Line in VNX, Revamps Entire Storage Line

EMC announced a revamp of its entire product line, dropping its midrange Clariion SAN and Celerra NAS systems for a new combined VNX array that offers both file and block-level storage through a number of data transport protocols.

By Lucas Mearian
Tue, January 18, 2011

Computerworld — EMC (EMC) on Tuesday announced a slew of products, including upgrades to its high-end VMAX Symmetrix array, the introduction of clustered NAS from its recent acquisition of Isilon Systems , and a product line that combines its midrange Clariion SAN and Celerra NAS systems.

In a media event punctuated with stunts staged in New York and Miami, EMC rolled out its new line of VNX SAN/NAS arrays. The line includes three models: the new entry-level VNXe with a price tag of under $10,000 and the VNX5000 and VNX7500, the prices for which EMC did not disclose.

Alongside a circus-like atmosphere that included a performance group that crammed 26 people into a Mini Cooper in a bid for a new Guinness Book world record, one of the more eye-catching product demonstrations occurred when EMC brought a fourth-grader on to the stage to show how easy a VNXe could be configured. The boy, named Edward, used an AppleiPad to configure storage capacity on a VNXe in a matter of a few mouse clicks. He then proceeded to pull and replace a failed hard drive in the array in under a minute.

There are two versions of the VNXe line: The 2U (3.5-in. high) VNXe3100, which supports Network File System (NFS), Common Internet File System (CIFS) and the parallel network file system or pNFS, and holds up to 96 drives, and the 3U (5.25-in. high) VNXe3300, which uses the iSCSI protocol and can hold up to 120 drives.

The advantage of the pNFS protocol is that it's basically a standard client for high-performance file systems, which would bring high-performance computing to commercial NAS systems. EMC's other complementary acquisition, Greenplum, sells a data warehouse platform based on a massively parallel processing (MPP) architecture that can scale out to hundreds of servers running a single database instance. Combined, the two systems offer the hardware and software for a high-performance computing architecture.

EMC CEO Joe Tucci said storage today is all about "the cloud ," whether in the form of a data center -based private infrastructure or in a SaaS-model. EMC's new product line is aimed at supporting SaaS-like capabilities, such as thin provisioning and automated storage tiering, he said.

"IT has become too complex, too inefficient, too inflexible and too costly. [IT managers] feel they have too many diverse environments. Too many operating systems. Those operating systems run on too many distinct platforms and underlying architectures. Large customers feel they have too many data centers and too many vendors," Tucci said. "There's too much money spent with service companies to customize applications ... and users feel they have a lack of control."

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