Little Known CLARiiON Facts and Trivia

I’ve just returned from EMC training in MA, where we learned a wealth of information about how to use the array, but also some interesting background information about the device itself.

First, the name CLARiiON has some interesting history. Before EMC was EMC, it was Data General, who had a 16-bit minicomputer called the NOVA. DG later came up with new product which the engineers had named the NOVAII. The marketing group, not wanting to recycle the “NOVA” name, insisted that a new name be chosen. The engineers, always wanting to get their way in the end, came up with a anagram “AViiON” by reversing the letters, and cleverly placing the two “ii’s” in the middle. The CLARiiON is simply a derivative of this naming convention.

Secondly, most people know that the operating system of the CLARiiON is called “FLARE”, but it is not commonly known that this is actually an acronyms that stands for Fibre Logic Array Runtime Environment.

It is also fairly common knowledge that one can access “Engineering Mode” on a CLARiiON by pressing Ctl,shft, and f12 and entering the password “messner”. The story behind this password, however, is that the engineering group at the time were avid mountain climbers and chose the password in honor of Reinhold Messner, the first person to climb Everest without the use of oxygen. Apparently the password before that was “pink floyd”, but the marketing group didn’t approve and made them change it.

13 thoughts on “Little Known CLARiiON Facts and Trivia

  1. Wow, that’s some intensely good information there, Cliff! I’m so glad that you cleared up the debate over the FLARE acronym. It had been driving me crazy for a while now! 😉

    And how the hell are you?

  2. Just fyi, EMC has always been EMC… Their main product was Symmetrix.
    But they bought Data General to gain access to the mid-end, as DG invented the clariion.

  3. Correct EMC has always been EMC. Dick Egan and Roger Morino were two of its founders (one story has it that the ‘C’ squared is ‘Computer Corporation’). Most of the early engineers were from Israel (and fans of Albert Einstien hence the EMC2 formula). I’m sure someone else out there knows this as well.

  4. FLARE may indeed be an acronym for “Fibre Logic Array Runtime Environment” today, but I assure you that it was not originally so. When the CLARiiON was introduced, there was no such thing as fibre channel and it wasn’t on the road map. All disks and all connectivity was SCSI.

    The original F was for Flexible, I believe.

    In naming the AViiON, there was a company-wide employee contest for the name and the NOVA II was selected by then president and Data General founder Edson De Castro. I believe it was Janpieter Scheerder who actually came up with the AViiON name.

    I was one of the AViiON Pioneers, an evangelical group to turn a proprietary minicomputer sales force into an open systems sales force.

    My favorite submission was Uranus. Employees wanted to tell customers to boot Uranus, or “load the software into Uranus.”

    This fit well into our culture. There was a famous internal document entitled “How to Goad and Levitate the CHAOS Operating System” that was a brilliant spoof on the customer manual “How to Load and Generate your AOS Operating System.”

    DG was a fun place – I worked there from 1983 until 1992. My current employer is almost as much fun.


  5. The original poster of this information obviously attended one of my CLARiiON training classes in the past. Unfortunately, he and has mixed together a couple of anecdotes to form a false notion.
    Pink Floyd was a password for another completely different storage controller and has nothing to do with CLARiiON. FLARE does indeed stand for Fibre Logic Array Run-time Environment.


  6. When I worked for DG in the 80,s when many of their disk drives stored about 30 MB on 2-3 14″ platters on a single spindle a rack drawer about 12″ high.
    At the time, 5.35″ FH “mini” disk drives were just beginning to appear. When I worked in DG’s Milford, MA facility, I made a drawing of a fake new product that consisted of a rack drawer that held 16 5.25″ drives, configurable as one big volume, or as redundant storage. It was done partly as a joke, and to show that our new, (and troublesome) large drives were fast becoming obsolete.
    After learning today that DG produced the one of the first the external storage array boxes, I’ll wonder forever if my little joke might have given someone the idea that let to the development of this product. 🙂

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