EMC Smartens Its NAS

Uses technology acquired from Smarts to manage NAS in first step of gradual integration

March 7, 2006

3 Min Read
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EMC today rolled out a management and diagnostic tool for its NAS systems, along with new high-end and low-end Celerra NAS boxes. (See EMC Unveils EMC Smarts.)

The Smarts IP Availability Manager for NAS is the first step EMC has taken to integrate its storage with technology acquired in its $260 million purchase of Systems Management Arts Inc. (Smarts) in December 2004. (See EMC Gets Smarts and EMC 'Paying Too Much' for Smarts.)

Smarts locates and identifies devices and systems in an IP-based network, gathers information about them, and correlates the data to determine status and make predictions. The company's claim to fame has been a specialized modeling language that helps pinpoint the root cause of a performance or connectivity problem.

The IP Availability Manager for NAS extends that capability to NAS devices, identifying root causes of performance degradation or failure, whether those are inside or outside the box.

Handy, sure, but still a far cry from the system-wide storage management execs have promised. Indeed, this offering appears to scratch the surface of storage management by merely extending Smarts' correlation from LAN file servers to NAS ones. There is no Fibre Channel support so far -- not surprising, given that Smarts is largely IP-based.It looks like what could be the first iteration of a possible game-altering offering,” analyst Charles King of Pund-IT Research says. “They’ll gradually move it up the food chain. They’re probably putting it out in a small package first because it gives them a chance to talk up the technology while they integrate it more.”

King says the Smarts software gives EMC a leg up on Network Appliance and other NAS vendors by adding a new performance management feature, but it doesn't go far toward establishing the company's management vision.

CEO Joe Tucci and other EMC spokespeople have made it clear they envision competing with systems and network management offerings from Hewlett-Packard, IBM, and Sun Microsystems. (See EMC Casts Wider Net.) Smarts is part of that, but not the answer to the full integration.

EMC also has yet to blend its own SAN management software with Smarts, though Vimal Shah, product marketing manager for EMC software, says EMC will do so this year.

The Smarts software works with all of EMC's NAS systems, but EMC timed its rollout with the launching of its Celerra NS704 and NS350 systems. The NS704 high-end system ships with dual 3GHz processors and 16 Tbytes capacity, and the NS350 includes dual 1.6GHz procesors and 6 Tbytes. The systems will have the integrated NAS, iSCSI, and virtual provisioning capabilities that EMC revealed in January. (See EMC Refreshes NAS, SAN).Smarts IP Availability Manager for NAS is available immediately with pricing starting at $50,000. Pricing for the NS350 starts at $46,760 and the NS704 at $261,000. The NAS systems will be available March 17.

— Dave Raffo, Senior Editor, Byte and Switch

Organizations mentioned in this article:

  • EMC Corp. (NYSE: EMC)

  • Hewlett-Packard Co. (NYSE: HPQ)

  • IBM Corp. (NYSE: IBM)

  • Network Appliance Inc. (Nasdaq: NTAP)

  • Pund-IT Inc.

  • Sun Microsystems Inc.

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