Open systems storage battle has barely begun, says EMC VP

Boston-based EMC has cut a swathe through IBM's mainframe storage market since 1990 and last week called that war over and itself the victor. But Ray Fortune, EMC's senior vice-president of international sales, declared in Churchillian tones that the battle for open systems storage had just begun.

Boston-based EMC has cut a swathe through IBM's mainframe storage market since 1990 and last week declared that war over and itself the victor.

In Sydney for the launch of the company's upgraded Symmetrix line of storage products last week, Ray Fortune, EMC's senior vice-president of international sales, declared in Churchillian tones that the battle for open systems storage had just begun.

Fortune went on to say that EMC had effectively made that distinction redundant anyway by producing a line of intelligent storage products that supports any platform. He says the EMC products eliminate the need for separate storage strategies for heterogeneous platforms and an investment in the Symmetrix line leaves further downstream choices of hardware and software completely open.

He says that rather than mainframe or open systems storage the term "enterprise storage" is now more appropriate.

EMC has achieved massive growth and the number one spot in terms of market share through leveraging its hardware products with Intelligent Storage Architecture software that acts as a bridge to different platforms and monitors the usage of data to determine where it is stored.

There is a premium charged for the technology and Tom Burns, director of international sales support, says this will continue. "The competition will continue to lead with price," he says. "it's all they have to offer and we won't be dragged into that kind of war."

Fortune says that many factors are playing in EMC's direction, including the development of fibre channel technology to eliminate the 25m UTP networking restriction, forecasts by Gartner that by the year 2000 70% of data will be consolidated and the increasing demand for storage and rapid retrieval of data over the Internet and intranets. He says if Gartner's forecasts are correct, that will equal a $US50 billion market.

EMC opened an Australian office in 1994 and now has an establishment of 40. This year it is planned to make a further move into New Zealand where there are currently two staff with another to be added shortly. EMC claims Telecom and Air New Zealand as local customers.

The upgrade increases system bus bandwidth from 200Mb/s to 500Mb/s and addresses cache problems for open systems, reduces response times to 5 milliseconds and increases I/O to 15,000 per second. Fortune says that in a transaction-dependent organisation the Symmetrix line offers a considerable competitive edge.

The new models introduce some of Seagate's high-end 9Gb and 23Gb disk drives

The new Symmetrix models also see a continuation in the reduction of the footprint of storage devices, with the one-bay model (Symmetrix 3430, 5430) now holding around 870Gb of data and the three-bay models (Symmetrix 3700, 5700) approaching 3Tb.

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