EMC digs deeper into SMB storage space

January 18th, 2011 | by Aaron Tan

Enterprise storage giant EMC unveiled a converged line of products to much fanfare today at its Singapore innovation and development center at Changi Business Park.

Hailed as a record-breaking event, which started with a local taekwando group breaking vinyl records followed by a video of how a record number of people were crammed into a Mini Cooper, EMC raised the curtains on VNX, a new family of unified storage systems that combines the best features in its Clariion and Celerra storage systems.

Of particular interest is VNXe, an entry-level product in the VNX family aimed at small and midsized businesses (SMB) and departmental storage users. VNXe, with prices starting at under US$10,000, includes EMC Unisphere, a centralized user interface that lets customers with little storage expertise configure storage for 500 Exchange mailboxes, or 1TB of VMware data stores, in a few minutes.

VNXe will compete with rival products including Dell/EqualLogic, HP MSA P2000 and NetApp FAS 2000.

Brian Mahan, chief of staff at EMC’s integrated systems and components told Techgoondu that while EMC has dabbled in the fast-growing SMB segment, the company did not offer a holistic product that meets the needs of SMBs. Moreover, market traction among SMBs is largely dependent on partners, a model that did not match EMC’s direct sales strategy.

Over three years ago, EMC decided that an integrated offering that combines storage systems with easy-to-use management software was necessary if it wanted any success in the SMB market. It also had to embrace channel partners who typically know the ground better.

To make VNXe accessible to SMBs, EMC has created a new authorized reseller category in its Velocity channel program so partners of any size can add the VNXe series into their product portfolio. All partners can quickly get up to speed in under three hours through free training.

For large enterprises, EMC’s VNX storage boxes now offers improved performance over current EMC midrange storage systems, thanks to a slew of features including file deduplication and compression, as well as EMC’s FAST suite software which moves frequently accessed data to Flash drives.

VNX is also expected to simplify deployment and management of virtualized applications. During a live demo, company executives configured storage for 100 Exchange e-mail accounts in under a minute.

David Vellante, chief research advocate at open source IT advisory group Wikibon.org, noted that SMBs are under extreme pressure to reduce costs and deliver more efficient IT services with fewer in-house skills.

“Our financial models show that by bringing together Clariion and Celerra, EMC’s VNX series will allow practitioners to reduce costs and accelerate IT delivery, while the VNXe series will enable small and mid-sized organizations to essentially deliver IT as a service without specialized storage skill sets.”

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