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EMC Snoops on Demand

After four years of limited availability, EMC Corp. (NYSE: EMC) is finally widely rolling out its OpenScale capacity-on-demand program this month that lets customers pay only for the storage they need on a monthly basis.

OpenScale, available since 1999, lets customers install standby storage resources and then be able to instantly access them whenever needed. EMC put the program into place to help streamline the procurement process for storage capacity, which can take up to nine months at some corporations -- an unacceptably long time when data needs may be close to doubling every year.

"Customers would run out of storage and want us to overnight disk to them," says Bill Raftery, VP of global financial services at EMC. "That's very risky to their infrastructure."

So why did it take EMC so long to make OpenScale a formal offering? Basically, the company says, because the honor system simply doesn't work in this situation.

EMC needed an automated billing infrastructure that would track a customers' usage without any human intervention and ensure they paid for what they were actually using. Before the automated billing for OpenScale was in place, the process "became very labor intensive," says Raftery. "I had to have the SEs [sales engineers] there on a monthly basis checking on their storage. Then you get into arguments with the customers about what was actually deployed."

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