EMC unveils two new disk libraries, de-duplication capabilities

EMC execs see solid-state disks playing an increasing role in storage arrays

LAS VEGAS — EMC Corp. today announced two new disk arrays for small and midsize companies, as well as upgrades to the company's existing enterprise-class virtual tape library (VTL) that include policy-based data de-duplication and disk power-down capability.

At its annual conference, EMC World, EMC announced two new versions of its Disk Library series VTL: the DL 3D 1500 for entry-level shops, and the DL 3D 3000 for midrange environments. The new arrays are targeted at LAN-based backup, using NFS and CIFS protocols for file backup.

The DL 1500 offers up to 36TB of capacity, and the DL 3000 up to 148TB of capacity. Both systems use new, larger-capacity 1TB Serial ATA disk drives with RAID 6 protection, and they offer optional Fibre Channel ports for SAN connectivity. Both libraries will also include de-duplication capability. They are slated to be available May 28.

EMC plans to begin offering policy-based de-duplication on its DL 4000 enterprise-class VTL, according to Dave Donatelli, EMC's executive vice president of storage product operations. The new SATA 1TB drives will also be available in the DL 3D 4000 VTL, which previously used 750GB drives.

The DL 3D 4000 model will be available July 28.

While there are many varieties of deduplication -- host-based, client-based, block-based, file-based, etc. -- EMC is using the technology on its VTL arrays to create a single copy of a document but allow it to be seen by multiple users through the creation of a pointer. For example, an e-mail sent around a corporation with an attachment would not include the actual attachment for every employee receiving the message, but a pointer to a centrally located file that only looked like an actual e-mail attachment.

K.J. Burke, a systems engineer with Barrick Gold Corp., a gold mining operation headquartered in Toronto, said he likes the idea that EMC is bringing deduplication into its VTL lineup in that it may help him further reduce file copies. Barrick Gold Corp. is using deduplication in the form of Data Domain Inc's product in its backup servers, and achieving a 20:1 data reduction ratio. "Where I could see a huge benefit in deduplication would be between file servers and our archives," he said. EMC also added disk power-down capability on its DL 4000 VTL through an algorithm built into the array's management software, allowing users to put any number of disks into a "hibernation" mode when not in use, to save on power and extend overall hard disk drive life.

In a separate announcement, EMC also touted a new version of its NetWorker backup software for midsize businesses. NetWorker Fast Start integrates licensing, installation and setup under a single-panel view. The backup software supports up to 20 Windows or Linux servers and five applications, including SQL Server, Exchange and Oracle.

Both Donatelli and EMC CEO Joe Tucci emphasized the importance that solid-state disk drive technology will play at the highest level of enterprise-class primary storage. "Over the next two years, all [data] recovery will come off disk ... not tape," Tucci said. "Tape is too slow."

EMC announced support for solid-state disk drives in its enterprise-class DMX array in January.

Donatelli said that by the end of 2010, solid-state drives will be on price parity with the highest-end spinning disk drives and will represent greater and greater amounts of the Tier 1 capacity in DMX arrays.

Burke said above other technology mentioned during keynote speeches, what caught his ear when Tucci mentioned EMC's intention to use more solid state disk. Because his company mines gold, servers and disk arrays are subject to dust and dirt being tracked in with administrators at offices located around the world, including facilities in rugged areas of Peru, Chile and Tanzania.

"We're already gone to more rugged Cisco routers. What I like about solid state disk is there are no moving parts to break down," he said. "Also, we pay about $4 a kilowatt hour for power in our Tanzania location. We would pay the additional cost to purchase solid state disks just to be able to reduce the amount of power we use."

After some initial investigation into savings around solid state disk technology, Burke said he believes lower energy costs alone could wind up paying for additional midrange storage area networks to be installed in remote locations to ease data management headaches.

Pricing for the DL 1500 array starts at $115,000 retail. The DL 3000 starts at $215,000, and the DL 4000 starts at $200,000. NetWorker Fast Start is priced at $18,500.

Copyright © 2008 IDG Communications, Inc.

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