EMC launches first petabyte array

EMC has capped a highly successful year with the launch of its first petabyte storage array

EMC beat its rivals to the winning post on Thursday when it became the first company to launch a storage array that will hold a full petabyte of data — easily the largest array that EMC manufactures.

The announcement of the massive nine-cabinet Symmetrix DMX-3 was part of a swathe of announcements that EMC made in London on Thursday on the back of excellent financial results and with the promise that 2006 would be one of the company's "busiest years yet for new announcements".

The company also rolled out several other new products; a new low-end version of the DMX-3 Symmetrix; the EMC Multi-Path File System for iSCSI, which is the company's first IP storage product; and new storage virtualisation products.

The Symmetrix DMX-3 is the company's new standard array that runs from the low-end — at least low by EMC's standards — to the high-end petabyte system. They all feature a new 500GB drive which means that 2,400 drives must be assembled to get to a petabyte of total capacity.

The new, entry-level version of the DMX-3 only requires two cabinets and 96 drives for its 7TB capacity, but even so will cost a cool $250,000 (£140,000). The petabyte array requires 2,400 drives.

According to Dave Donatelli, EMC's executive vice-president for storage strategy, the DMX line represents a change in EMC's strategy. High-end storage arrays "used to be configured for high-performance arrays that are richly optimised, not it is likely to be simpler". With the raw capacity now on offer, "we can put Tier 3 [low-end] applications in this array," Donatelli said.

"This changes the game," added Donatelli. "The highest performance arrays are the most cost-effective."

Storage capacities have ballooned, according to EMC. "Last year we sold more storage capacity than we did in the previous three years," said Eric Shefler, executive vice-president for Europe.

Shefler added that while EMC's business has been booming across the board, the company has been doing particularly well in Europe. "In 2002, Europe, the Middle East and Africa was 22 percent of EMC's revenue," he said. "In 2005 it was 36 percent."

Shefler forecast that this growth will continue across the company. "We had a great year in 2005 and we are forecasting an even better year in 2006...with total revenue in the $11.1bn to $11.3bn range".

EMC says that more than half its business now comes from software and services.