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EMC 'Open' To Growth

EMC will develop software to manage equipment from other data storage vendors, part of an aggressive plan to right itself and "transform the industry" after a dismal quarter.

The new products, announced in New York this morning, won't be ready to ship for several months but could kickstart the Hopkinton, Mass., company, which has been buffeted by the slowing economy made worse by the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11.

EMC's enabling technology, dubbed WideSky, will translate commands and data from a variety of hardware and software products and serve as a development platform for building storage applications.

Widesky will be worked into ControlCenter Open Edition, allowing IT managers to monitor all system components from a single point, automate data replication and report on system performance, among other features.

The original version of ControlCenter software was introduced in 1999 and is installed in 40,000 locations.

"The goal is to have a very few manage tomorrow's petabyte environment, allowing the mass of IT professionals to work on initiatives that will move their company's forward," said Joe Tucci, EMC's president and CEO.

Goldman Sachs & Co. sees opportunity in EMC's new direction.

"While the competition for managing heterogeneous storage environments is intense, there are no products that come close to meeting users' total needs," the investment firm wrote in a note to investors. "EMC already has some advantages in its ability to interoperate with the most servers, operating systems and internetworking devices."

There will be challenges however, chief among them, working with bitter rivals IBM and Hitachi , which took some business from EMC last quarter, especially in lower-end systems.

But if successful, the strategy could help drive sales of EMC hardware, Goldman Sachs said. Investors also liked the initiative. Shares of EMC edged up 0.48, or 4 percent, to 13.89 in midday trading. In the last 52 weeks, the issue has ranged from 10.01 to 99.