EMC stakes claim for interoperability

EMC claims its latest suite of software products offers IT managers a view of their network that includes all rival boxes,...

EMC claims its latest suite of software products offers IT managers a view of their network that includes all rival boxes, software and switches.

The US vendor unveiled a range of storage management products controlled by a middleware application called WideSky. The products include ControlCenter/Open Edition, Replication Manager, StorageScope and Common Array Manager.

EMC said WideSky can also manage storage hardware and software from rivals Compaq, Hewlett-Packard, Sun Microsystems, IBM and Network Appliance.

The products are aimed at companies such as MasterCard International, which manages a 115Tbyte storage area network (SAN) with EMC's Enterprise Control Center, a product that limits the network view only to EMC equipment.

"Right now, you have to pull two or three groups together to find out what you have on the mainframe side, the Unix side or the Windows side," said Jim Hull, MasterCard's US vice-president of engineering services."

Hull said EMC's latest Automated Information Storage management suite would enable him to consolidate resources to "have one control centre managing the whole thing".

The products mark a change of course for EMC. The company has generally been considered one of the more proprietary of all the storage vendors.

EMC is "really throwing down the gauntlet", said IDC analyst Bill North. "The real question is from a market penetration point of view: Will [EMC] be successful as a software provider outside the EMC installed base? Can they really open it up and achieve instant penetration into the larger market?"

Joe Tucci, EMC president and chief executive, argued: "What customers want in the long term is to manage all the information across their enterprise, whether it's on EMC [storage arrays] or one of our competitors' platforms."

"They want to free up the vast majority of IT resources to work on new initiatives and not maintenance."

EMC said it expects to get 30% of its revenue from software in 2003 and 20% from services. That is up from 25% and 11%, respectively, in its latest quarter.

As part of its network storage offering, EMC said Replication Manager software can automate the scheduling of backups and disk replicas for instant restores. "This tool integrates with backup tools from Legato and Veritas," said Jim Rothnie, EMC's senior vice-president and chief technology officer.

StorageScope allows IT managers to see networks down to the switch and host bus adapter. Common Array Manager displays how much storage is allocated on disparate storage arrays, mainframes and servers.

ContolCenter/Open Edition offers a central view and control of an entire storage network platform from a single console.

WideSky is included with any EMC ControlCenter management application, and all existing EMC applications under maintenance will be upgraded at no cost. The US price for StorageScope is $3,700 (£2,544), and Replication Manager costs $13,000 for each workgroup licence.

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