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While targeted at several data-intensive applications, EMC’s
latest midrange storage offering, high-density Clariion CX4 configurations,
represents the evolution of the storage industry at large, packaging  more
capacity and capabilities in smaller physical spaces and consuming less energy.

"Over the last two years, a lot of customers have been looking at
efficiency and cost savings as top of mind, and we  really don’t see that
changing over the next year," says Ruya Atac-Barrett, director of Clariion
product marketing.

There are three components to the EMC
announcements: a new rack (high-density CX4 and Celera Gateway
option) with up to 4 times capacity in the same footprint, or double the
performance in half the footprint; 2TB low-power SATA drives that will be
available across the entire product line; and the combination of racks, drives
and energy-saving technologies like spin-down that enable EMC
to deliver critical efficiencies to data centers.

These solutions should be of immediate interest to several customer sets or
applications that generate massive amounts of data, says Atac-Barrett. They
include seismic data, financial services and medical companies that do a lot of
document archiving, and video and game archiving customers. There are a lot of
channel partners who have focused solutions in these three types of
data-intensive apps that should benefit from these very high-end, high-capacity

Of particular note, the channel will not be competing with Dell with these products,
says Atac-Barrett. Although a major Clariion seller, the company has decided to
pass on these systems.

According to Terri McClure, an analyst with ESG, this announcement should
appeal to any customer—and its reseller—that is running out of space, capacity
or energy in its data centers.

"Even though it seems the worst is behind us, things are still pretty
tight from a budget perspective," McClure says.

Combine this with EMC’s
FAST storage automation technology
and it all adds up to very
operationally efficient system, she says. "It is a good platform for data
consolidation. For customers running out of power and space, it’s a great
consolidation play."

ESG has just completed its annual market survey, and for the
second year in a row operational savings came at the top of the priorities
list. Until the market collapse capex topped the list.

The CX4 system configurations support 1TB and 2TB SATA disk drives, as well as
enterprise flash drives, which store data on electronic memory rather than
spinning disks. They offer up to 390 2TB, 5,400 and 7,200 RPM
SATA drives and flash drives in a single rack using half the floor space and
number of power connections required for the same number of drives in
conventional racks.

They also support EMC spin-down technology—which
powers down inactive disk drives—saving 65 percent of the power required by
traditional spinning SATA drives. The 5,400-rpm 2TB SATA drives provide twice
the capacity while consuming over 60 percent less power per gigabyte than 1TB
7,200-rpm SATA drives. The Celerra Gateway systems are required for
customers wanting to use CIFS and NFS.

The new configurations offer full access to all disk drives from the front of
the storage system’s rack. The sliding design enables the front enclosures to
be moved forward, providing easy access to enclosures and drives in a second "slide
out" tier. 

Although both the storage units and controllers are now shipping, EMC
won’t offer integrated solutions—high-density EMC
Celerra unified storage system configurations—until later this year.