Following last year’s promise to position itself as the leader in the midrange storage market, EMC Corp. Monday announced the launch of a new networked storage system, the Clariion CX600.

The CX600, which promises enterprises

the ability to fully exploit the potential of 2GB fibre channel interfaces to deliver twice the bandwidth of competitive products, is the first in a line of sixth generation Clariion products to be released between now and March 2003. All of the new products are going to reflect EMC’s new focus on the midrange market, says EMC president and CEO Joe Tucci.

“”The CX600 is positioned in the lower tier of the high end space,”” says Tucci, “”between now and March we’ll be releasing other products in the same family that will target the lower end of the market, where EMC has traditionally not been present.””

Priced at US$150,000 per 180GB at the entry level and going up to US$800,000 per 17.5TB of storage capability, the CX600 delivers the performance and software functionality of a high end storage solution, says EMC executive vice-president of storage system operations David Donatelli.

The system delivers more options for disaster recovery through MirrorView, Clariion’s remote mirroring software, now supporting connection over IP networks as well as fibre channel. And it promises to eliminate O/I bottlenecks through the use of PowerPath software, which up to now was offered only with the high-end Symmetrix systems, EMC executives say.

“”This system was also designed from the ground up to be networked,”” says Donatelli. “”It works in either a SAN or a NAS environment.””

The mid range storage market is a growing market with significant opportunity, says Todd Irie, marketing manager of Mississauga-based NexInnovations.

“”There is so much growth in the amount of data that enterprises in this market need to manage,”” says Irie. “”We’re seeing tremendous interest from municipalities and the public sector as they have a number of different customer bases that they need to serve. Especially where there is a service aspect to what they do.””

The forecast looks good for this sector, agrees Peter Gerr, research analyst with Milford, Mass.-based Enterprise Storage Group, and it should improve with time as smaller and mid-sized enterprises realize that they need to use information as a competitive tool.

“”This is really going to be the fastest growing market from a capacity stand point over the next five years,”” he says. “”Information is a strategic asset to any business and that’s really no less important in the mid range.””

Traditionally, the only metric in this market was price/performance, but that’s changed, says Donatelli, and now customer demand for mid-tier products are expanding greatly.

Price point is still an important consideration for enterprises, adds Gerr, but it’s really features, performance and reliability that will drive the final decision to purchase a particular system or not and that’s where EMC has an advantage.

“”The CX600 offers a great mix of enterprise class features, particularly small to medium sized enterprise features, at a price point which is extremely competitive with other mid range offerings that may or may not have the same features such as the ability to so snapshot or mirroring. From a vendor with the service and support and experience of EMC it’s certainly a strong offering,”” he says.

The new line will capitalize on the partnership between EMC and Dell Computer Corp., although the CX600 is a fully EMC developed product, designed independently of Dell, says Tucci.

“”Dell is going to help us here with the distribution and servicing of the products. More of the relationship that developed with Dell will come into play as we drive this family (of products) into the lower end of the market in the coming months,”” he says.

The launch of the Clariion CX600 is being announced today by all EMC global channel partners and both hardware and software are being made available immediately, says Tucci.

Although EMC has come out with a very strong offering, says Gerr, they may have to begin looking over their shoulder soon because the competition has products in the pipeline that they will position against the Clariion CX600.

“”As is the case with many industries, vendors leapfrog each other. Today was EMC’s day to unleash their new product. The other vendors will announce new products probably within the next six to nine months,”” he says.

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