EMC Adds High-End Management Solutions

Adds software to Byzantine IT management framework; says it's heading in the right direction

September 18, 2007

4 Min Read
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EMC has taken a step toward automating storage processes in data centers with a set of product announcements today. But the release shows just how far EMC -- and other big storage vendors -- remain from offering any truly heterogeneous or off-the-shelf solutions.

Demand for more automated IT management is growing. (See BladeLogic Boasts Big Q3 and HP to Buy Opsware for $1.6B.) And as far as storage goes, it's early days, though some SRM vendors like Onaro are aiming to change that. But if you can pay for it, EMC has a growing list of high-end management offerings, from which it claims to be squeezing more meaningful data and a potentially more automated approach.

EMC's four new software products unveiled today include:

  • IT Process Centre. This is EMC's contribution to the IT "runbook automation" systems currently in vogue. (See VMware Dives Into Dunes.) Not an off-the-shelf product, it is instead a software framework designed to link trouble ticketing or service desk packages such as HP's Peregrine software or BMC's Remedy with EMC software like its ControlCenter storage equipment SRM system, Smarts, and Application Discovery Manager (ADM). ADM, you'll recall, is the package EMC acquired with its 2006 purchase of nLayers. When a request for storage comes into the service desk, for instance, IT Process Centre can notify ControlCenter to kick in with a provisioning tool.

    As far as storage information goes, IT Process Centre is limited by the capabilities of EMC's ControlCenter. So far, that package actually provisions and configures equipment only from EMC, HP, and HDS. So you'll only be able to activate routines that apply to gear from those vendors.

    IT Process Centre starts at $150,000 and is typically set up with a customized interface.

  • IT Compliance Analyzer (Application Edition). This package is designed to use ADM as a repository for tracking how applications and software support or violate specific internal or regulatory policies. Examples include checking that all Web servers have the latest operating system; that Oracle databases at multiple sites share the same data pool size; that connections use a secure protocol; or that data from specified hosts is or isn't cross-accessible.For now, Compliance Analyzer does not support storage equipment. That's left to EMC SAN Advisor, a part of the ControlCenter family. "Future editions of IT Compliance Analyzer will be extended to additional domains," says Robert Quillin, senior director of product marketing at EMC's Resource Management Software Group.

    Compliance Analyzer is currently available and starts at about $27,000. The requisite ADM starts at $50,000.

  • EMC Smarts IPv6 Availability Manager. Like earlier EMC applications acquired with the 2005 acquisition of Smarts for $260 million, this software performs root-cause analysis of problems in IP networks. But EMC claims it's the first to do so for IPv6. Japan is using this protocol heavily, and the U.S. government has mandated its use by June 30, 2008.

    EMC says this app does not supplant the vendor's earlier IPv4 wares. "We plan to continue full support of the current Smarts IP Availability Manager product, that those customers will also have the opportunity to easily upgrade to IPv6, too," Quillin states.

    Starting at $35,000, it is priced higher than the $25,000 base for Smarts IP Availability Manager for IPv4.

  • IT Performance Reporter. This is a package designed to gather historical data on the real-time performance information gathered by Smarts Availability Manager -- the one that supports IPv4. So on top of Smarts, you'll spend another $15,000 to get started with this tool.

No end users were available at press time to discuss their use or evaluation of EMC's new products.EMC doesn't pretend this set of announcements, which won't offer much to those who aren't interested in big suppliers' fancy frameworks, are anything more than a step on the road to better things. "All the announcements are a foundation for broader heterogeneous support," Quillin asserts.

"It's a step that needs to be taken to get us where we need to go," says analyst Bob Laliberte of ESG. "Standards still need to be developed, but in the interim vendors are doing what they can with their own equipment."

One thing the new announcements highlight is EMC's emphasis on growing beyond its storage charter. The software additions are part of the vendor's Intelligent Information Management (IIM) strategy announced last year.

Still, though EMC's data center management solutions are among the few high-end offerings that support storage, they are still a far cry from any off-the-shelf relief for storage managers in the trenches.Have a comment on this story? Please click "Discuss" below. If you'd like to contact Byte and Switch's editors directly, send us a message.

  • BMC Software Inc. (NYSE: BMC)

  • EMC Corp. (NYSE: EMC)

  • Enterprise Strategy Group (ESG)

  • Hitachi Data Systems (HDS)

  • Hewlett-Packard Co.

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