EMC Offers Management Software Subscriptions

With the clamor for management software increasing, storage company EMC aimed to meet such
customer demand Monday by adding two new features to its ControlCenter line, the centerpiece of its AutoIS strategy to help
IT staffs get more control of their storage systems.


The Hopkinton, Mass. firm added EMC AutoAdvice, an intelligence engine that
grants Web-based access to performance analysis and resource utilization
across of IT infrastructure, and San Architect, Web-based software for
design, modeling and validation. Both pieces of software are sold as
one-year subscriptions.


EMC Marketing Director of Open Software Pat Cassidy said customers would use
AutoAdvice, a new automated storage product, to isolate problems and ferret
out potential trouble spots in a company’s infrastructure. It treats these
issues with recommendations for fixes, he said, based on analyses of
customer data about current and legacy application and infrastructure
performance.


AutoAdvice aggregates the collected metrics, analyses them against EMC’s
ControlCenter repository, and pipes information that can be used in
consolidation efforts, root cause analysis, and performance trending, to the
customer. It also warns about potential performance and capacity problems.

AutoAdvice met with approval of some industry analysts. Enterprise Storage
Group Senior Analyst Steve Kenniston said technologies such as AutoAdvice
hint at the direction of the future of storage management services, a
multi-billion market by some counts. In short, this is a dashboard, or
“single pane if glass” concept.


“End users want simple-to-use tools that can view as much of their
environment as possible through a single pane of glass,” Kenniston said.
“The fact that EMC does the heavy lifting for the customer — meaning IT
shops don’t have to dedicate already-taxed people to make all this work —
has to be considered a smart move.”


Enterprise Storage Group Analyst Nancy Marrone concurred.


“The interesting thing about this is that the solution has an intelligent
inference engine, which means it basically keeps track of problems, what the
issues were that caused the problems and then “learns” how to solve those
problems,” Marrone said. “So when an alert goes to a customer site, the
Auto-Advice solution also sends on suggestions as to how to address the
problem. The key to this is that they actually correlate this information
from all of the enterprises they are managing, so they have a very
significant knowledge base. EMC can then offer customers a significant range
of advice that would not be possible if the customer were just monitoring
their own enterprise. So it’s a great proactive solution, which in of itself
is powerful, but the extensive knowledge base makes it a very attractive
solution to any user with multiple applications or any user that might be
turning up a new application.”


SAN Architect provides storage architects and IT administrators guidance
because it models and validates SANs, including applications, hosts, host
bus adapters, switches and storage systems. Cassidy said the software cuts
down on manual tasks and removes the guesswork from hypothetical scenarios.
With it, IT staffs can discern which changes need to be affected, and make
them using EMC SAN Manager software. SAN Architect is targeted for users who
are considering multiple server, switch, or array rollouts and
consolidations or those who require change validation without affecting
production.


The beauty of the software, Cassidy said, is that it provides customers with
previously unavailable online access to EMC’s information management
knowledge bank, bridging the gap between its repository and customers’
systems. SAN Architect and AutoAdvice can be used as stand-alone
applications or as an extension to EMC’s ControlCenter applications.


AutoAdvice is available as a one-year subscription at $400 per CPU, scaling
from one to 50,000 CPUs. SAN Architect costs $2,400 for an entry-level,
one-year subscription.

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