Symmetrix's current controller architecture has a large internal cache to hold answers for frequently asked queries. That isn't well-suited to the Internet age, in which queries are rarely alike. The new modular architecture has multiple ports to handle multiple queries simultaneously.
EMC wouldn't provide details, but analysts say the upgrade could spur double-digit growth of the flagship product. "This will be significant for EMC and its customers," says Nancy Marrone at the Enterprise Storage Group. EMC's bottom line improved in 2002--the company's net loss for the year was $119 million, a 77% improvement over 2001's net loss of $508 million--but competition is fiercer than ever. Hitachi, for instance, offers a switched controller that can process a large number of queries per second.
Unlike EMC, Hitachi supports the Storage Networking Industry Association's Bluefin specification for interoperability between heterogeneous storage systems. This week, IBM will reveal support for the spec in its Enterprise Storage Server and enhance Linux support for mainframe customers by adding open systems advance copy and disaster-recovery functions.