HDS 9570 vs EMC CX500

NetComrade netcomrade at bookexchange.net
Mon Jun 27 11:43:05 EDT 2005

Dear Sun Managers,

We've looked at HDS9570 and EMC CX500 for our storage needs (# of vendors
was limited due to some compatibility issues and due to a limited
timeframe to come to a storage decision). The applications to be run on
the array is multiple Oracle Databases (OLTP), with 3 to 4 hosts
connected. Veritas will be using for load-balancing (since we already own

If you worked with either or both, could you please me know your opinion?
Here are some of the sales pitches from the sales guys, but we'd like to
know real opinions on service and ease of use and performance of the

The basics are about the same: 15 drives per shelve, 15K 73G drives.

HDS runs an ASIC, EMC runs a 'software' raid on a Windows kernel.
 EMC claimed this in their favor (easier to upgrade, easy faster processor
 HDS claimed this in their favor: faster, better RAID5 performance
 HDS claimed 95% of their customers run RAID5, whilc EMC 'recommends' to
run RAID10/RAID01

HDS is more expandable (224 drives HDS/120 Drives EMC)
 EMC claimed HDS performance decreases as you add drives
 (frankly I don't see how EMC's performance wouldn't)
 HDS claimed with 3 shelves (what we plan to get) we'd be running at 20%
capacity, while with EMC's 3 shelves at ~40%.

(we don't actually care about expandability that much, since we don't
think we'll outgrow the arrays in 3 years, but who knows, the option is
always there)

EMC claimed to be easier to expand than HDS
EMC claimed stories of how hard it is to carve a LUN in HDS, and presented
stories of customers returning HDS equipment and going to EMC.
HDS showed some #1 in customer satisfaction (Gartner?) slides

HDS claimed they don't lock you into any software (e.g. Legato for

HDS claimed their VxWorks software comes from mainframe world, and was
ported to smaller arrays, and comes with all features, additionally the
software is univeral across all their products (e.g. not such as EMC's
Clariion CX500, which runs Windows kernel, while other lines of arrays run
on different OS or even ASIC)

EMC claimed that they're generally easier to upgrade.

Both have 'phone-home' support, where array is hooked up to a POTS line.
EMC automatically updates their software on the array.
HDS only reports problems, doesn't automatically update software.
HDS claimed (EMC confirmed) that you can't downgrade firmware/software on
the array w/o rebuilding it (although EMC asked me to find a customer that
needed to do that).

both have 4GB of cache
HDS has 4 loops, EMC 2 loops internally.
EMC seemed to be more configurable (e.g. different page sizes per host in

Despite all the 'drawbacks', EMC appeals to use since we have some
internal knowledge of it. It also seems to be a more wide-spread disk
array than HDS, especially in the same segment, most likely, since now
Dell sells them. However, that doesn't mean HDS isn't a better array, or
has worse service/ease of use.

Your opinions are greatly appreciated, and I will summarize if I get
enough responses.


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