RealTime IT News

Storage 'Breakthrough' on Tap For EMC

UPDATED: EMC has found a way to apply automated root cause and impact analysis software to the networked-attached storage (NAS) realm, an achievement one analyst called "huge."

The company next week will unveil Smart IP Availability Manager for NAS, industry sources told internetnews.com.

The software, which will work with new Celerra NAS servers EMC plans to unveil Monday, uses core technologies from the company's Smarts acquisition.

Smart IP AM for NAS uses Smarts' ICIM common information model and Codebook Correlation Technology (CCT) to allow users to pinpoint the root cause of failures in NAS environments and run them against issues in the network and application layers.

The source said the product will diagnose faults and their impact on NAS systems for EMC's Celerra, as well as on Network Appliance's NAS systems, in real time via SNMP .

This software will work even if and when the NAS devices go down, reducing the time to repair, as well as the downtime. This is attractive to companies that need systems to be available 24-7.

Acquiring software that helps computers automatically pinpoint the root cause of a failure is a major target area these days for corporations that need to make sure their systems are up and running as constantly as possible.

Such software takes the burden and pain points associated with manual analysis away from IT staffs, freeing them up to focus on other, more pressing tasks.

EMC is the first storage vendor to apply the technology to NAS, which experts claim is a breakthrough.

Taneja Group founder Arun Taneja said EMC seems to have solved a huge problem that is also very difficult.

To understand the root cause of why an application, or a device, is performing at less than peak efficiency, users have to grasp its interactions with its surroundings, Taneja said. IT staffers have to look at the problem holistically and correlate its interaction over time with other devices.

The analyst also cautioned that such an accomplishment takes Ph.D.-caliber skills, and that it is too early to tell if a regular storage administrator can use it without seeing some real life usage.

It's also a direction EMC has to head if it wants to stave off competition from major systems vendors such as IBM, Sun or HP.

"It is a gutsy move on the part of EMC but a necessary one, I believe, as companies like IBM have a lot invested in basic research in that area and they will start bringing products out some time in the near future," Taneja said.

"The server vendors see a real need for this, as they sell everything from servers to networks to storage, and therefore feel they have an advantage over storage-only vendors. EMC has to counter those threats with such moves."

Smart IP AM for NAS is the first in a series of solutions that will bring Smarts' ICIM model and CCT to the Hopkinton, Mass., company's storage portfolio, according to the source.

The product shows that EMC has made great strides since acquiring Smarts Technology last year for $260 million as a way to give life to data beyond the block and file level.

High-tech vendors believe more intelligent storage applications will give data new legs as they seek competitive advantages as inroads to new customers.