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EMC Maps Apps For Analyst Day

NEW YORK -- EMC agreed to acquire nLayers, a startup that makes application discovery and mapping software. It's the latest example of how the company is evolving to keep up with changing market demands.

The purchase, for which financial terms were not disclosed, was announced during EMC's annual analyst event here.

At the event, EMC CEO Joe Tucci promised to grow the company's VMware, storage virtualization, content management, resource management and security businesses to $1 billion each in the next two to five years.

Tucci also said he expects the company's storage business to grow at a double-digit rate over the next several years.

Company executives also outlined plans to address customer needs for service-oriented architecture (SOA) , a distributed computing strategy for exchanging information, and security software.

NLayers' technology is one piece of EMC's SOA puzzle.

Augmenting the root cause and impact analysis software from EMC's acquisition of SMARTS, nLayers provides software that automatically identifies, maps and models the relationships and interdependencies between applications, servers and devices.

NLayers' Application Behavioral Modeling (ABM) engine models the application component inventory, relationships and interdependencies between physical and logical components within the infrastructure and usage and demand.

The product pegs entities at a rate of over 500 per minute, providing speedy discovery of applications and devices to customers who need the information in real time.

The deal makes sense on a number of levels.

NLayers already provides the foundation technology for EMC Smarts Application Discovery Manager software, thanks to an original equipment manufacturers' agreement.

The San Jose, Calif., company's technology will also be used to help EMC's storage management software to correlate, determine root-cause and offer a fix for problems in companies' datacenters.

Ensuring that information flows unfettered across networks to its endpoint is an important characteristics of EMC's SOA plan, which CEO Joe Tucci discussed at the analyst meeting today.

Just a few years ago, EMC was a storage systems vendor without so much as a toe in non-storage software markets.

In 2003 and 2004, the company has pulled off a string of acquisitions that helped the company grab fistfuls of archiving, enterprise content management and virtualization markets.

The company has moved up the stack to address the network and application infrastructure layers. By acquiring SMARTS and nLayers, EMC is addressing the relationships between applications and the devices they run on.

Determining such interdependencies between networks can help customers see how to exchange Web services , application-to-application communication that is the heart of an SOA.

While Smarts and nLayers address one aspect of SOA, security is another segment EMC is targeting for the next five years. That will include home-cooked technologies, as well as acquisitions.

When pressed, Tucci said EMC is inclined to purchase smaller security vendors.

"We are buying what I call a string of pearls," Tucci said. "When you look at our growth, we are not buying companies inherently that have a lot of revenue."

Because the analysts' meeting came in the middle of an ongoing acquisition spree by EMC, Tucci and his executive team were vague about its plans.

That may have contributed to the market's treatment of the meeting. Shares of EMC were down 36 cents in late market trading.