RealTime IT News

EMC Bolsters Storage Network Software

In a time when tech firms find themselves challenged to make software that will work on rivals' computer systems, storage software leader EMC Wednesday refreshed its ControlCenter family of intelligent supervision software, which makes it easier for disparate machines to communicate.

Heterogeneity among storage networks has long been a goal to help customers manage systems with fewer employees, and major vendors such as EMC, IBM, HP and Hitachi have allied at different times to exchange application programming interfaces (APIs) to make this happen.

EMC's news fits under its AutoIS strategy for managing storage networks, where the key thrusts include allowing IT managers to monitor infrastructure made up of multiple vendors.

Standing out among the slew of upgrades is EMC's new Automated Resource Manager -- provisioning software that automates the manual process of adding and reallocating storage resources -- from the storage array through the Storage Area Network (SAN) to the host computer. The software enables organizations to bypass the manual process by applying storage service-levels for specific application requirements and creating heterogeneous storage pools. It currently supports EMC and non-EMC storage devices, including EMC Symmetrix, EMC CLARiiON, and HP StorageWorks, with additional third-party storage support in development.

Bill North, Storage Software Research Director for IDC, said EMC's strategy makes sense, as customers are relying on software makers to solve the complex problems of managed network storage.

"As a result, they're measuring vendors not just on their strategies, but on their ability to deliver..." North said.

Some competitors, however, remained unconvinced about EMC's approach and were in full bashing mode Wednesday -- a day when the latest storage systems figures from IDC were released.

IBM told internetnews.com that EMC's AutoIS initiative an "ongoing attempt to derail industry standards - at the expense of the customer." IBM, of course, supports "Bluefin," an industry-backed standard to provide interoperability within a storage area network for multi-vendor products.

Brian Truskowski, CTO of the IBM Storage Systems Group,: "The only surprise is that one year after making its initial foray into the storage software space, EMC is still just taking baby steps where IBM is in full gallop," Truskowski said. "The bottom line is that customers still only will get a closed, EMC-controlled, proprietary system with only limited support for non-EMC hardware. Open standards means the customer, not the vendor, is in control, and that is simply what the e-business transformation is all about."

Hopkinton, Mass.-based EMC did not return calls seeking comment.

Additional EMC ControlCenter upgrades include:

  • SAN Manager -- SAN Manager (formerly ESN Manager) now supports active management of HP StorageWorks arrays, in addition to prior active management support for EMC Symmetrix and EMC CLARiiON. SAN Manager also centrally manages network devices such as Brocade, McDATA, Qlogic and EMC Connectrix and enables zoning, discovery, and reporting for storage arrays from HDS, HP and SUN
  • StorageScope -- StorageScope reporting software now covers virtually any storage device. New support announced today includes HDS, HP, SUN and IBM systems as well as "JBOD" non-intelligent storage, internal server storage and storage network devices
  • Common Array Manager -- enables customers to automatically discover multi-vendor storage arrays and monitor the status of the array, its disks and other sub-components Previously supporting storage from HP, HDS, SUN, IBM, and StorageTek, the Common Array Manager device management software now also supports arrays from Network Appliance.
EMC Wednesday also rolled out EMCLink, which the company hosts, to provide application-to-storage monitoring to simplify problem identification and analysis. To fend off unnecessary downtime by delivering early warnings about potential network problems, EMCLink offers tuning advice for Oracle and SQL Server Databases, Windows, SUN Solaris, HP-UX, IBM AIX and Linux Operating systems, and SAP R/3 and Microsoft Exchange applications.

Automated Resource Manager and SAN Manager, and enhancements to StorageScope and Common Array Manager will be available within 60 days. Replication Manager enhancements will be available in December. EMCLink and EDM enhancements are available now.