EMC executives said on Wednesday that the company has acquired the rights to BMC Software's Patrol Storage Manager software for an undisclosed sum.
In return, BMC will become EMC's first software-only solution provider as it starts to resell EMC's ControlCenter family of storage products.
BMC said in mid-February it would discontinue its Patrol Storage Manager, keeping only its mainframe storage applications on the storage side while focusing on its network management business.
Under the partnership, EMC will acquire the rights to Patrol Storage Manager along with 50 customers of the product and a small number of BMC personnel, said Barry Ader, director of software product marketing at EMC.
"This is part of an investment protection strategy for those customers," said Ader. "We will give them an opportunity to move to EMC's ControlCenter software free of charge. Until they make the change, BMC will continue to offer them level-one support, while EMC will offer level-two support. We will support Patrol Storage Manager until Jan. 31, 2005."
BMC now becomes a reseller of EMC's ControlCenter product line and will offer the software to its 5,000-plus Patrol Storage Manager network management customers, said Dan Hoffmann, director of enterprise storage management at BMC.
Hoffmann said BMC has an exclusive agreement with EMC in that it will not resell storage management software from any other vendor.
When BMC discontinued development of the Patrol Storage Manager software in February, it had just started preparing a channel push, and so it had no solution providers for the product. BMC's channel is focused primarily on the network management side, he said.
Hoffman said the addition of EMC's storage management software to BMC's line is a tremendous opportunity for his company. "A large amount of BMC customers are also EMC customers," he said. "But not a lot of them use EMC ControlCenter yet."
Brandon Steinmetz, an account executive at MRK, a Cleveland-based solution provider that partners with both vendors, said he is not surprised at the agreement between the two. "EMC is trying to label themselves more a software company than a disk array company," he said. "They recognize that software is the value-add at this point."
Steinmetz said he does not expect to see any problems from BMC reselling the same EMC ControlCenter software he currently offers to his BMC customers. "We like to say we are vendor-neutral," he said. "We like to go in and see what product or solution is best for the customer. If the product is available through the channel, we make sure customers know what is best for their environment."
It is possible, though unlikely, that MRK could compete against BMC, but he said it makes no difference to him. "If there is a level playing field, I would evaluate my stance and my status in the account, and see what else I could bring to counter that product," he said. "Anyway, BMC does not sell EMC hardware."
Reaction to the news was swift from EMC competitors.
Bob Davis, vice president of BrightStor solutions at Computer Associates International, said in a statement that EMC's strategy appears more vendor-driven than customer-driven.
"Customers are looking for an integrated suite of products that they can deploy independent of their storage infrastructure and hardware decisions," Davis said. "When BMC announced that they were getting out of the storage software business, a number of customers were left without a road map to an open-systems storage solution. Today's announcement doesn't offer those customers a solution to those requirements."
Mark Sorenson, senior vice president and general manager of the Storage Software Division for Hewlett-Packard's Networked Storage Solutions, said in a statement that EMC is getting fewer than 50 customers and what he called an "average storage management software technology."
"The bottom line is that this is a sales and marketing agreement between two companies that are scrambling for market share and creating additional complexity for customers in the process. %85 While EMC and BMC are busy cobbling together their combined assets, HP's OpenView today offers customers an integrated system, network and storage management solution," Sorenson said.