EMC buys Prisa Networks, unveils new NAS combo

EMC Wednesday announced that it will purchase storage resource management software vendor Prisa Networks Inc. for US$20 million in cash.

Prisa Networks, a privately held company in San Diego, sells low to midrange storage management software. The acquisition is EMC's eighth software purchase in three years.

Hopkinton, Mass.-based EMC said Prisa "brings to EMC revenue-generating products and an established OEM distribution agreement with Dell that addresses an expanding market segment" -- namely, the midrange marketplace.

Erez Ofer, EMC's executive vice president of Open Software Operations, said Prisa's software will provide those EMC midrange customers with "advanced Windows-based multivendor SAN management capabilities."

"This acquisition is an important addition to EMC's family of Intelligent Supervision products and gives us a significant time-to-market advantage, as well as the ongoing efforts of Prisa's very talented engineering team," Ofer said.

Prisa's storage management products include VisualSAN Network Manager for device discovery, management and monitoring of multivendor storage-area network (SAN) devices; VisualSAN Configuration Manager for visual identification of objects in a SAN; VisualSAN Performance Manager for performance monitoring and tracking; and VisualSAN Remote Support Suite for remote control of a SAN.

Prisa's software will initially be sold through existing OEM channels, EMC said, but will eventually be offered through additional EMC channel partners and direct sales.

EMC Wednesday also confirmed for the first time that it has enabled its network-attached storage (NAS) file server head to work on its midrange SAN array, offering a cheaper alternative to file-level data storage.

The integrated Celerra NAS/Clariion array, along with EMC's high-end Symmetrix array, can be managed from a single console using EMC's ControlCenter software management platform, giving administrators a more centralized view of their storage architecture.

"It's a level of flexibility that you get," said Tony Prigmore, an analyst at Enterprise Storage Group Inc. in Milford, Mass.

For more than a year, EMC's Symmetrix array has been able to serve up either block-level data across a SAN or files through the Celerra file head. In the past, analysts have criticized the Celerra filer, which served only the high-end marketplace, because it needed a Symmetrix array on the back end.

The Clariion array can now serve up files for about half the cost of the Symmetrix array, EMC said. The only catch is that a Celerra NAS/Clariion combination can only serve up files. By the end of the year, EMC said, the new NAS combination will also be able to serve up block-level data across a switched Fibre Channel network.

Case Western Reserve University CIO Lev Gonick considered a high-end array but last month chose to install two CX600s, using the Celerra file server head on one of them to turn it into a file server.

The arrays are part of a 5TB SAN that costs $1.2 million. The SAN has allowed Cleveland-based Case Western to reduce its storage administration staff from 20 full-time employees to three.

"The NAS head at its core is trying to support the distributed storage environment that exists across the university," Gonick said of the system's 16,000 end users. "This allows [the] small SAN in the Weatherhead School of Management or the small SAN in the Case School of Management to take advantage of the core management of storage facilities as a second tier for their backup operations."

Case Western's SAN creates centralized storage to Sun Solaris, Dell Windows NT and Linux servers running applications such as e-mail, human resources, finance, course management and research databases for genomics and bioinformatics.

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