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EMC says new VMAX and Thunder coming soon, HDD price hikes staying

Headlines: EMC announced that the price increase for HDDs put into place last year will continue and to watch out for a new high-end Symmetrix VMAX storage system and the “Project Thunder” flash caching appliance.

Storage channel news roundup for April 17 to 23, 2012

EMC says new VMAX and Thunder coming soon, HDD price hikes staying

EMC executives last week said the price increase for hard drives put into place late last year will continue for most of this year. They also confirmed expectations that a new high-end Symmetrix VMAX storage system and the “Project Thunder” flash caching appliance are coming soon.

Despite a 7 percent revenue growth to $3.7 billion for information storage products last quarter, EMC CFO Dave Goulden said during the vendor’s earnings call that it struggled to meet demand for high-capacity hard drives. Goulden said the drive shortage caused by Thailand floods last year is improving, but EMC will keep its 5 percent to 15 percent price increases at least into late 2012.

“There were and still are constraints in nearline drives,” he said. “We got the drives we needed to make our numbers, but nearline drives came in late and we had to do some balancing to meet supply and demand. There will be constraints in certain classes of drives the entire year.”

Read the full story on EMC’s earning call and then see what impact new drive technologies might have on enterprise hard drives.

EMC ready to pounce on XtremIO?

Last week, EMC CEO Joe Tucci repeated the storage giant’s commitment to all types of flash. During the company’s earnings report, Tucci pointed to products such as EMC’s recently launched PCIe-based solid state VFCache card, 100% flash arrays, and hybrid systems consisting of flash and spinning disk. He proclaimed, “This category of storage will undoubtedly make up the vast majority for years to come.”

Now it appears that EMC may add one of those product types by acquiring all-flash storage array startup XtremIO. Israeli business newspaper Globes today reports that EMC is discussing a buyout of the Tel Aviv-based startup for $400 million to $450 million.

Check out the full blog post on EMC’s possible plans to acquire all-flash storage startup XtremIO.

Server PCIe flash cache trend catching on with storage vendors 

Server-based PCI Express (PCIe) flash cards have made their mark for primary data storage, and they’re starting to attract increased attention for caching now that EMC Corp. and other major vendors are jumping on the flash cache trend.

Caching at the application server offers the advantage of reduced latency by eliminating the network hop to the storage array, and directly connected PCIe offers higher bandwidth than Fibre Channel, Ethernet, SAS and InfiniBand.

Dennis Martin, president of Arvada, Colo.-based Demartek LLC, thinks server-based flash caching will trend upward.

“It’s simple to manage. It’s an easy way to get a performance bump. And you don’t have to change your back-end storage at all,” said Martin.

Martin noted that read-intensive applications such as database, Web and file servers are especially “cache friendly.” IT shops in need of a performance boost will find several server-based cache products in the market and more on the way, he said.

Check out this tip on PCIe SSD use cases and VAR recommendations.

All-flash storage helps credit union speed core banking apps 

North Island Credit Union said it improved sluggish data processing operations by moving its main financial database off of an EMC Clariion Fibre Channel SAN onto an all-flash storage array from startup Violin Memory.

The San Diego-based credit union had mixed results with its EMC Clariion CX3-40 running batch processing and batch reports for its main banking application, an Open Solutions financial database supported by two Oracle databases. As the application data grew, Core Network Systems AVP Michael Glogowski said nightly and monthly batch processing jobs sometimes continued into the next business day.

Read the full story on how a credit union used Violin Memory’s all-flash storage.

Quantum launches Scalar LTFS appliance for file archiving 

Quantum Corp. last week unveiled three network-attached storage (NAS) gateway appliances that support Linear Tape File Systems (LTFS) for the company’s Scalar tape libraries.

The appliances include enterprise, Fibre Channel (FC) department and SAS department models, which let customers access data from tape without requiring backup applications.

The enterprise appliance supports 10 Gigabit Ethernet, 8 Gbps FC and up to 32 Quantum tape drives. The department models support eight drives, Gigabit Ethernet, and either 8 Gbps FC or 6 Gbps SAS. The appliances stream data at file-level speed.

Quantum’s gateways will be available in June. Pricing still is being finalized, but the vendor said the FC department model will cost $15,000.

Find out how the LTFS format can be used to take advantage of LTO-5 tape for archiving.

Additional storage news

Check out last week’s storage channel news roundup.

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