EMC upgrades NAS line with SSDs, file de-duplication

Celerra arrays now offer mix-and-match with SSDs

EMC Corp. today announced an upgrade to its entire line of Celerra network-attached storage systems, saying it will now offer solid-state disks and file-level data de-duplication on the arrays along with upgrades to its NAS gateway device.

The upgraded arrays include the NS-120, NS-480, NS-960 and NS-G8 NAS gateway appliances, which attach to a Clariion or Symmetrix storage array to offer file-level data storage using the NFS or CIFS protocol.

The upgrades include data de-duplication for primary file systems and end-user file data in VMware and other virtualized environments. The de-duplication feature is a single-click start-up operation with automated policies and is fully integrated into the Celerra Manager software. EMC claims that by eliminating redundant data, it can increase file system capacity up to 50%.

The NAS boxes now offer management tools for VMware environments such as VMware View Storage Integration, a VMware vCenter plug-in that helps administrators more quickly provision thousands of virtual desktops leveraging Celerra's snapshot features and VMware View Composer.

The Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) in Germany uses multiple Celerra NS systems for its files services, VMware, and Oracle and Exchange server environments. The school beta-tested the new Celerra data de-duplication feature.

Uli Betzler, senior storage architect at KIT, said de-duplication enabled him to reduce the primary data in the school's file service environment by 25% while improving overall system performance.

"Many of the files stored on the Celerra are large, and de-duplication will result in cost savings for the KIT with the benefit of faster access to the files," he said. "Beyond that, even the small files in typical user profiles show an impressive compression ratio with EMC's data de-duplication feature."

Rich Napolitano, senior vice president in EMC's storage division, said the Celerra line also includes multiprotocol interfaces, including as many as 32 10Gbit/sec. Ethernet NAS and iSCSI ports.

EMC also announced that it is offering enterprise-class solid-state drives for its Celerra line. Flash disk can result in up to an eightfold performance improvement compared with traditional Fibre Channel drives. EMC's flash drives, from STEC Inc., deliver submillisecond response times and are 98% more energy efficient on an I/O-per-second basis than hard drives, EMC said. The flash disk drives can be mixed with Fibre Channel or Serial ATA drives to create a multitier storage array.

"By consolidating VMware, Windows, Linux and Unix environments onto a single Celerra NS system, IT managers gain a tremendous amount of flexibility and the ability to deploy and update the latest storage technologies across all application environments as needs dictate," said Steve Scully, an analyst at IDC.

Celerra system users can also now purchase SATA II disk drive technology, which typically uses up to a third of the power per terabyte of capacity as traditional 1TB SATA disk drives. The Celerra systems also offer twice as many drives as they had before. For example, the high-end NS-960 integrated with an EMC Clariion CX4 scales up to 960 disks.

The new Celerra NS-120, NS-480, NS-960 and NS-G8 models will be available in early March. The starting list price for the entry-level NS-120 is $37,725, which includes 1.8TB of raw storage, RAID and CIFS support, as well as snapshot capability.

Copyright © 2009 IDG Communications, Inc.

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