EMC has two new high-end storage arrays promising better performance and higher capacity for business-critical and transaction-intensive applications.

The Symmetrix DMX3500 and DMX4500 have more than three times the storage capacity of present EMC arrays and more cache memory and throughput for high-performance. They are not meant to replace EMC’s Symmetrix DMX800, 1000, 2000 and 3000, but to complement them by offering systems that perform better and faster for customers that need it.

In addition, the new Symmetrix’s will have mirrored cache, a first for EMC storage arrays. Mirroring of cache memory provides for system redundancy and increased availability. Increasing the size of the cache memory is important because the system is able to store more information quickly at hand for use by business-critical applications such as databases. Arrays from Hitachi Data Systems and IBM such as the TagmaStore and TotalStorage DS8000 already have mirrored cache.

"The fact that EMC’s Symmetrix’ have not had mirrored cache has always been its Achille’s heel," said an analyst who asked not to be identified. "This lets them catch up to Hitachi and IBM who already offer mirrored cache."

The new arrays are also modular - meaning they can scale incrementally by adding more disk drives, memory or I/O. EMC first introduced modular arrays with the DMX Series, announced in February 2004.

While Arun Taneja, consulting analyst and founder of the Taneja Group would not comment on the specifics of the announcement, he did have something to say regarding the increasing modularity of vendor’s arrays. "The whole industry is moving toward modularity whether it is in adding more disk drives, throughput or I/O capacity," Taneja said. "Modularity is the ultimate dream of users who want to be able to scale their storage as they need it."

The DMX3500 has an upper capacity of 432 TB; the DMX4500 supports 576 TB of data. EMC’s present DMX3000 supports 172 TB. Pricing and availability of the arrays is not yet known.