EMC overhauls storage architecture

EMC claims to be revolutionising the storage industry with the introduction of its Symmetrix Direct Matrix Architecture (DMX), which shuns the traditional shared bus or switch architecture in favour of a matrix design.

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By  Matthew Southwell Published  February 9, 2003

EMC claims to be revolutionising the storage industry with the introduction of its Symmetrix Direct Matrix Architecture (DMX). Shunning the traditional shared bus or switch architecture in favour of a matrix design, the solution promises to remove contention and latency issues and deliver a more cost effective and reliable storage architecture.

“In the past, everything went through a shared bus, which was fine until it slowed down. Our rivals tried to solve [the problem] with a shared switch, but this meant you just had a busy switch rather than a busy bus… DMX is different — it is a dedicated point-to-point highway [for data] and is a totally different mechanism for building a storage array,” says Chuck Hollis, vice president of storage platforms marketing at EMC.

Instead of a switch or bus based architecture, DMX comprises up to 128 point-to-point connections that directly link each of the front end channel directors to every region of the global cache memory to each back end disk director. Each dedicated connection is capable of transporting data at 500 M/bytes/p/sec, which results in a total data path bandwidth of 64 G/bytes/p/sec and a total aggregate data path and messaging bandwidth of 72 G/bytes per second.

“DMX has 4.4 times the aggregate bandwidth, between five and ten times the cache bandwidth and nine times the CPU power of our nearest competitor,” comments Hollis. “DMX is the result of the largest R&D effort we have ever undertaken at EMC… and the result is the industry’s first high end modular array,” adds Mark Lewis, executive vice president of new ventures and chief technology officer of EMC.

The Symmetrix DMX comes in three main models, ranging from the rack mounted high end Symmetrix DMX800 to the Symmetrix DMX2000, which also comes in an ultra performance model for performance hungry customers.

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