EMC unveils storage management software

EMC Corp. will release a new product into its ControlCenter line of storage management software along with adding in support to existing software products for storage hardware from other vendors, the company announced Wednesday.

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, in an interview here at the Storage Decisions conference. "The software takes the drudgery out of storage management."

The company also updated existing products in its software arsenal to include support for hardware from the likes of Hewlett-Packard Co., Hitachi Ltd., Sun Microsystems Inc. and Network Appliance Inc.

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 challenges 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 skills sets throughout an organization," 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 (customer relationship management) 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 also rolled out its EMCLink product Wednesday that sends out warnings for potential performance problems and capacity shortages for business applications in a SAN. The product works with databases from Oracle Corp. and Microsoft Corp., and support operating systems such as Windows, Sun's Solaris, HP's HP-UX, various flavors of Linux and IBM Corp.'s AIX.

Along with the new products, EMC has added support for new hardware to other products in its ControlCenter suite.

-- EMC SAN Manager - previously ESN Manager - will now work with HP's StorageWorks arrays in addition to existing support for EMC hardware. Customers can also run zoning, hardware discovery and reporting tasks for Hitachi, HP and Sun high-end storage systems, Swatik said.

-- EMC's StorageScope reporting product will now work with Hitachi, HP, Sun and IBM's Shark systems as well as non-RAID JBOD (just a bunch of disks) storage-- EMC's Common Array Manager hardware discovery product supported all of the major vendors' hardware already and will now also find Network Appliance systems on a network.

-EMC's Replication Manager will now work with the company's own Clariion system and HP's StorageWorks hardware. In addition, it will support Microsoft's SQL Server 2000 and Exchange 2000.

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