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EMC serves up double storage for business

The data storage giant increases by twofold the storage capacity on its Symmetrix data storage system for business.

EMC will double the capacity of its top data storage system for large companies.

The Hopkinton, Mass., company on Wednesday announced the Symmetrix DMX3000, a new version of its in the first quarter, the Symmetrix updates are part of a string of maneuvers designed to improve its position in both hardware and storage management software.

When the Symmetrix DMX2000 came out in February, analysts noted that EMC did not offer as much storage capacity as some competitors. The extra capacity of the DMX3000, which has 73.5 terabytes of available storage, addresses that concern and closes the gap--though competitors such as Hitachi still offer larger systems. Hitachi offers one system with 128 terabytes of usable storage space, for example.

EMC also added several ways to attach computers to its Symmetrix storage systems. It fitted all Symmetrix systems with Ficon, a fast data interconnect used to attach storage systems to mainframe computers. In addition, it incorporated iSCSI, an interconnect that will allow servers, namely those located outside of data centers, to access Symmetrix systems using Ethernet, instead of employing a more expensive Fibre channel link. Support for Gigabit Ethernet, which can be used to replicate data, is now included too, the company said.

Brian Babineau, an analyst with Enterprise Storage Group, said the new Ficon support is a sign EMC is refocusing on the mainframe market. He also said EMC's new "Snap" software for making snapshot copies of data at a particular point in time is a positive step. The software uses fewer resources, Babineau noted, because it captures the changes in a data set rather than copying a complete version of the data.

"It should be welcomed that EMC is actually offering a product that doesn't consume more capacity," he said. "They're infamous for creating products that consume more capacity."

EMC said Snap software typically requires just 30 percent of the storage capacity needed to hold the original data set.

While it is offering a more powerful top-of-the line system in the DMX3000, the lower-price DMX800 should help customers move up from storage systems such as EMC's Clariion line to Symmetrix, EMC executives said.

"We think the new DMX800 will make high-end storage more appealing to smaller customers," said David Donatelli, executive vice president of storage platform products at EMC, during the Webcast.

The Symmetrix DMX800 will start at $284,000, and the Symmetrix DMX3000 will start at $1.7 million. The new systems will begin shipping in September 2003.

CNET's Ed Frauenheim contributed to this report.