EMC Opens Up

Puts the results of thousands of interoperability tests into the public domain

July 12, 2001

2 Min Read
Network Computing logo

EMC Corp. (NYSE: EMC) today adopted a new strategy regarding the results of the massive amount of interoperability testing with other vendors products that it conducts every year (see EMC Touts Interoperability).

Rather than limit access to the results to EMC’s partners and customers, as it’s done up until now, it’s put the whole shebang on public display in the form of “Interoperability Support Matrices” on its Website. These PDF files, accessible via http://www.emc.com/horizontal/interoperability/interop_support_matrices.jsp, effectively tell users what works with what in EMC-centric storage networks.

With the matrices, for instance, users can look up their particular type of server and operating system and see at a glance what vendors' host bus adapters (HBAs) and other storage network elements it will work with, according to EMC.

At least, that’s the idea. At press time, however, the PDF files still appeared to be password protected, and EMC was looking into the cause of the problem.

EMC freely admits that its Interoperability Support Matrices are a sales tool – although it also emphasizes that they can help users save a lot of time and money by taking the testing that EMC has done for granted. Overall, the company estimates that users now spend a staggering $30 billion a year on doing their own testing; it says its matrices could help reduce this “interoperability tax.”The big question is whether users will feel comfortable doing that, bearing in mind that EMC isn't exactly impartial.

One thing's for sure. EMC has accumulated a mountain of information on interoperability. In the past 10 years, the company has plowed $2 billion into its interoperability program. EMC says it’s spending $250 million a year on it at present, and that figure is accelerating. The labs in which the testing is conducted occupy five acres.

The matrices represent thousands of combinations of products. A total of nearly 400 server models, 40 operating systems, 81 storage software products, 145 networking elements, and 1,200 other devices (ranging from HBAs and drivers to switches and tape subsystems) are represented.

The testing is neverending, EMC says, and the matrices keep on growing. Whenever a vendor introduces a new product or upgrades an existing one, a whole bunch of testing has to be redone, covering all of the possible permutations with other hardware and software.

Other vendors have programs similar to EMC's but haven’t made their interoperability matrices public. William Hurley, analyst with The Yankee Group, isn’t impressed. “It’s yet another interoperability lab,” he says. “Just this one cost $2 billion.”Hurley says there are as many interoperability labs now as their are vendors in the storage market, and each lab does things differently. “What the market needs is standards,” he says.

— Jo Maitland, Senior Editor, Byte and Switch http://www.byteandswitch.com

Stay informed! Sign up to get expert advice and insight delivered direct to your inbox

You May Also Like

More Insights