EMC builds its SMB offering

Published: April 20th, 2006

Based on the company’s CLARiiON RAID architecture, the new AX150 for Fibre Channel connectivity and the AX150i for iSCSI offer SMBs the performance, reliability and availability of EMC’s large array storage products at a price more appropriate for small to mid-sized companies, said Jay Krone, director of CLARiiON marketing.

The AX150 “represents the second generation of this product technology,” he said. “Its predecessor (AX100) turns out to have been a successful seller for us in its iSCSI version.”

Krone said the AX150 is a Fibre Channel-connected version (classic storage area network) and the AX150i is an iSCSI, which is the storage protocol running over Ethernet.

“The primary difference from the AX100 is a support for a new disk drive technology, SATA II, which essentially under some of the more common application scenarios gives customers up to twice the performance from the previous generation,” he said.

The software components in the AX150 and 150i include EMC Retrospect, a backup-to-disk application and a storage administrator for Exchange to automate storage configuration.

Krone added that each model can be easily installed using a new iSCSI installation wizard and also includes the Navisphere Express Web-based management suite.

Larry Zulch, vice-president and general manager of EMC Insignia, said the company is counting on VARs and solution providers that already meet the IT needs of the SMB market to build on top of the CLARiiON AX150 and 150i.

“It’s anchored by the storage hardware but a lot of the value-add comes from software and allowing our partners to put hardware and software into solutions,” he said.

“We didn’t want to give them just hardware or software, all of these products standalone.”

Although Dell is also one of EMC’s partners for the Insignia line, Zulch said it doesn’t address the entire market.

“EMC Insignia was brought forth by EMC in order to address the parts of the market that Dell doesn’t.

“There are some areas of overlap but it’s been important for us to provide things unique to the SMB market space and to our partners,” he said.

Zulch added that there are special lower-cost versions of EMC Insignia products that are available only through its channel partners.

Recently EMC introduced a new variation of its Velocity small and medium partner program called Velocity SMB to support EMC Insignia channel partners.