EMC automates storage billing

Toronto-based EMC Canada Corp. last month unveiled an automated billing system that is intended to simplify the way the firm’s customers use, deploy and manage storage resources.

The new billing component comes integrated in EMC’s OpenScale storage asset and financial management program to bring automated billing to networked storage infrastructures including storage capacity, storage area network (SAN) switch ports, network attached storage (NAS) servers and storage software, the company said.

In May of this year, EMC announced its ControlCenter Online storage technical solutions, which incorporated the AutoAdvice offering. AutoAdvice combines software that runs at the client site with internal EMC databases. The product automates the collection of system metrics for servers and Oracle databases in an “agentless” way to eliminate much of the manual system metric collection and root-cause analysis that administrators have had to conduct for all devices attached to networked storage.

Using the same “agentless” collector technologies found in EMC’s AutoAdvice software, OpenScale enables customers to allocate storage resources on demand, while billing only for the resources used, and does not require manual onsite technical assistance.

According to Ross Allen, EMC Canada’s country manager, the new automated billing feature in OpenScale allows EMC to demonstrate its ability to deliver storage service automation of the processes and tasks of internal storage utility models.

Allen added that programs like OpenScale are prerequisites for achieving the benefits of utility models such as reduced complexity.

Pat Cassidy, director of software marketing for EMC in Hopkinton, Mass., explained that OpenScale provides a way of doing business with EMC that is easier and completely automated.

“What OpenScale does is pre-position arrays, switches and EMC software at the client site,” Cassidy explained. “They already have the software tools they need to report and monitor and reconfigure those (devices). Now what we have done is we’ve cut down the procurement cycle because (customers) can literally – without EMC intervention – flip a switch and turn on another hundred terabytes and be billed accordingly on a monthly basis.”

IDC Canada Ltd.’s Alan Freedman said the EMC offering makes sense in today’s market, keeping in line with the notion of utility computing, which has begun to make some serious waves amongst IT brands including the likes of Hewlett-Packard Co., with its Adaptive Enterprise Initiative, as well as IBM Corp. with its On Demand strategy.

“I think (the EMC announcement) fits with the trend in today’s market to focus on reducing complexity and reducing costs,” Freedman, research manager, infrastructure hardware, explained. “Really, that is what all customers are looking for these days. They want to be able to implement something quickly and they want to be able to do it without a lot of professional or installation services.”

Designed for enterprise customers with large EMC installations, OpenScale provides automated billing for EMC Symmetrix, EMC CLARiiON, EMC Connectrix and EMC Celerra systems in addition to EMC TimeFinder and SRDF software. Cassidy noted that EMC has plans to tailor the solution to fit medium enterprises in the near future.

IDC’s Freedman said EMC has made a smart move in tackling the enterprise market before venturing into different areas.

“Enterprises are the largest customers and have the largest increase in capacity requirements in terms of volume,” he said.

For more information, visit EMC’s Canadian Web site at www.emc2.ca.

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