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EMC extends storage management software functionality

Storage vendor EMC is to add a new product to its ControlCenter line of storage management software.

The company is also adding support for existing software products to storage hardware from other vendors, the company has announced.

The latest addition to the ControlCenter family is the Automated Resource Manager software, which allows users to set predetermined policies for how data should be managed in a storage area network (SAN), said Don Swatik, vice-president of alliances and information sciences at EMC.

"The software provides new levels of automation in the storage management arena - not just automation but policy-based automation," Swatik said. "The software takes the drudgery out of storage management."

EMC has also updated existing products in its software arsenal to include support for hardware from the Hewlett-Packard, Hitachi, Sun Microsystems and Network Appliance.

Administrators have struggled to manage the flow of data across the interlocking storage servers, switches and other networking hardware that make up a SAN. The challenge of having myriad applications run on hardware from a variety of vendors has outweighed some of the benefits of SANs, such as the ability to consolidate servers, over direct attached storage.

EMC last year unveiled its AutoIS strategy for helping administrators deal with the complexity of SANs with a host of new software management products.

EMC will start shipping Automated Resource Manager within the next two months with support for its own Symmetrix and Clariion hardware and HP's StorageWorks systems, Swatik said. The software allows users to set policy options for things such as the type of storage a user wants for certain applications, RAID (redundant array of independent disks) levels, replication settings and the number of paths between servers and storage systems.

Automated Resource Manager is designed to reduce the number of steps it takes to free up more storage capacity for an application and set a framework for a company's SAN policies.

"Just doing the simple act of adding storage capacity takes multiple skillsets throughout an organisation," Swatik said.

To add capacity for a database, for example, administrators must be familiar with the application itself and know about file systems and storage networking. EMC's new software should automate many of the steps in these management processes.

It also allows a company to set higher priorities for certain types of applications. A company could, for example, set a policy that says its CRM application must always have plenty of storage capacity and that its storage needs should supersede the needs of other applications. In addition, the software makes it possible to set these types of policies by geography or business unit.

EMC has also launched its EMCLink product that sends out warnings for potential performance problems and capacity shortages for business applications in a SAN. The product works with databases from Oracle and Microsoft.

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