EMC offers disk array as tape alternative

EMC offers disk array as tape alternative

Continuing to look for ways to jump-start its sales EMC announced last week a relatively inexpensive disk array for storing fixed data, such as check images, software source code and medical X-rays. Prospective users said the device could provide a speedier alternative to tape storage.

List prices on the Centera array start at $US101,500 for a 5TB system plus $103,200 for companion storage management software. Analysts said that puts the price of Centera at about 2 cents per megabyte, compared with 8 and 12 cents per megabyte for EMC's high-end Symmetrix arrays.

Tape storage typically costs less than one US cent per megabyte. But some users who are eyeing Centera said they're hopeful that it will give them faster and more efficient access to data than tape does.

EMC isn't alone in targeting fixed data storage. Network Appliance recently released a file server that was designed primarily for data backups but can also be used to archive data such as financial records.

But EMC's storage management software gives it a jump on rival vendors, said Steve Duplessie, an analyst at The Enterprise Storage Group in the US.

EMC called Centera a "content-addressed storage" device because its software creates a unique 27-character identifier for each document or image stored in the system. A new file with a new identifier is created each time the data is changed, so the data can't be overwritten. In addition, EMC said, the content-based fingerprint lets applications retrieve data without having to know the physical location of the information.

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