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EMC Beta Simplifies Infrastructure As A Service Management

EMC announced the beta program for Ionix Unified Infrastructure Manager 2.0 at VMworld. The new version of the management software is designed to simplify the transition from physical to virtual to private cloud infrastructures. Ionix UIM 2.0 unifies and automates the management of Vblock Infrastructure Packages, part of the Virtual Computing Environment coalition formed by Cisco, EMC and its VMware subsidiary. Vblock packages offer a modular approach to infrastructure, combining virtualization, networking, computing, storage, security and management technologies. According to EMC, the new software automates more than 60 operations that would normally be performed manually.

Bob Laliberte, senior analyst at the Enterprise Strategy Group (ESG), says the biggest change to Ionix UIM is the addition of storage. "UIM is significant in its ability to deliver Infrastructure as a Service, a single software package that can provision and configure servers, network and storage--essentially all the compute resources required for new applications. Compared to legacy, siloed and mostly manual configuration/provisioning processes, UIM can dramatically reduce the amount of time to provision new services," he says.

Laliberte says the new software gives EMC a step up on the competition. "Tools to automate the configuration and provisioning of the server domain have been around for a while, same with the network. Storage, due to its lack of standards is kind of the last frontier when it comes to automating services. And tightly integrating all three is not a trivial task."

Phil Burt, a product manager for EMC Ionix, says traditional device management tools tend to be standalone, and even more complex offerings like IBM's Cloudburst and HP's Matrix "have a strong server management heritage to them and that really shows up when you look at the tools--they don't go very deep on the storage and network components." The beta program has been underway for a few weeks now, Burt notes. The product is aimed at service providers offering cloud services as well as enterprises looking to move beyond simple virtualization to private clouds. He believes the new version expands the potential market to customers looking to take a service-driven approach.

Organizations will need to change the way they are thinking about infrastructure and how it is provisioned, changing from a mentality that provisions infrastructure per project to one that builds out a modular infrastructure over time, such as every three or six months, notes Laliberte. "The Vblock provides a modular approach to infrastructure resources, along with the requisite software to manage it, that can be quickly deployed and integrated. The same UIM will manage it, further simplifying use. Organizations will be able to build extremely modular data centers around Vblocks that will rapidly scale while minimizing operational costs."