EMC offers online ControlCenter management

Marking its entry into online access and subscription-based management software, EMC Corp. announced on Monday two additional features to its ControlCenter management software line.

The two new applications supporting the online strategy, AutoAdvice and Storage Area Network (SAN) Architect, “extend ControlCenter’s management capabilities up to the server and application layer while simultaneously bridging the gap between EMC’s expertise and our customers specific environment,” said Hopkinton, Mass.-based Pat Cassidy, director of open software at EMC.

Both services can be used with the ControlCenter application, or as stand-alone solutions, EMC said.

The Hopkinton, Mass.-based company is looking to give more control to IT employees through the new online services, Cassidy said.

Web-based SAN Architect allows IT administrators and storage, server, switch and SAN design architects to complete end-to-end SAN design, modelling and validation of their topologies, including applications, hosts, host bus adapters, switches and storage systems. Customers input their requirements into the online service and are provided with recommended configurations to make to their SAN.

The fact that the online SAN design tool is template-driven enables customers to follow “in a logical fashion from the app, to the server to the storage into the switch and then through the output,” Cassidy said.

He added that the tool will also be helpful for enterprise customers, who experience a lot of change within the SAN environment. It also reduces time that people put into modelling those changes.

As an example, based on research and a pilot program using the service conducted by EMC, Cassidy said a SAN architect could save as much as 20 hours of work by using the online component.

The other service, AutoAdvice, is designed to provide automated performance monitoring for applications, servers and databases as well as providing expert advice on root cause analysis and what to do about the uncovered problems, Cassidy said.

The service collects the metrics, analyzes the customer data about current and historical application and infrastructure performance, and produces a daily performance report with advice.

“The expert advice that it delivers on the root cause analysis allows customers to more easily spot emerging [performance] trends before the trigger alerts,” he said. “They’ll know they’re running out of space before they actually have to scramble to then use an active management tool to assign new storage.”

System metrics are automatically collected for Microsoft Corp. Windows, UNIX and Linux servers and operating systems; Oracle Corp. and Microsoft SQL server databases; and Exchange and SAP applications, EMC said.

Enterprise Storage Group Senior Analyst Steve Kenninton said there is a demand for these services, adding that there isn’t a lot of competition within the market.

“I have been a long-time believer in trying to move support into a more proactive role whenever you can. The AutoAdvice technology allows for some technology to live over at the customers site and allow IT to set up some parameters to be able to shoot information to EMC,” he said. “EMC has the ability to collate that information as well as pass it back to the IT person so they know what’s happening in their environment when they come into the office.”

AutoAdvice will run US$400 for a single CPU for a year, offering unlimited tiers moving up, and decreasing discounted CPU prices as customers purchase more CPUs. Entry-level pricing for SAN Architect is US$2,400 for an annual subscription. Both services are now available.

EMC is online at www.emc.com.