EMC Adds Automated Provisioning, More Heterogeneous Support To ControlCenter


EMC on Wednesday unveiled a number of applications, including automated storage provisioning, under its ControlCenter storage management framework.

The first application, Automated Resource Manager (ARM), is the industry's first end-to-end automated storage provisioning, said Chuck Hollis, vice president of markets and products at the vendor.

ARM includes policy engines that figure out what storage devices are available from the server to the SAN and what devices are needed, and then matches the two, Hollis said.

To expand capacity in multivendor SANs before this tool was available, a user would have had to investigate the inventory of SAN devices to discover what is available and make changes to the configuration, Hollis said. With ARM, storage can be automatically provisioned via user-set policies for specific business needs. For instance, online-transaction-processing applications could be assigned highest priority of performance and availability, while other less critical applications could be assigned lesser service levels, he said.

Other storage resource applications focus on reporting about storage resources but do not allow provisioning, Hollis said. "But storage provisioning in large and medium shops is a big deal," he said. "This is definitely an 'ooh, wow.' "

Other storage applications under the ControlCenter framework have been enhanced for increased integration under ControlCenter, as well as for increased management of heterogeneous SANs.

That heterogeneous manageability comes from two sources, said Hollis. The company recently signed an API exchange agreement with Hewlett-Packard that extends a former agreement signed with the pre-merger Compaq, giving ControlCenter the ability to manage HP and Compaq storage devices.

The ability to control storage from Hitachi Data Systems, IBM and Network Appliance was gained by constructing the appropriate APIs from scratch, Hollis said. "These were done with blood, sweat and engineers," he said.

The ControlCenter applications are also being more tightly integrated with each other, Hollis said. As a result, it is not necessary to leave one application to use another. "It is a big boost to productivity," he said.

Among the applications being enhanced are EMC's StorageScope, which presents an application-specific view of a storage infrastructure; EMC SAN Manager, which centrally manages storage network devices to enable zoning, discovery and reporting for Hitachi, HP and Sun arrays; and EMC Common Array Manager, which monitors the status of multivendor arrays.

The enhancements to ControlCenter applications come as EMC is making a big push to be seen as an independent vendor of storage management software. The company recently separated into two business units, Hollis said. While the company's hardware division focuses on EMC's own storage platforms, the open software people must maximize its own revenue and is focusing on multivendor support, he said.

For solution providers, the new software enhancements mean new services opportunities, Hollis said. "People want a single dashboard to do it all, as opposed to 20 dashboards," he said. "This [software extracts the value from the storage network and is a good way for solution providers to go back to previous customers."

The new ControlCenter applications are expected to be available within two months, EMC said.