EMC Planning Subscription Storage

EMC officials say they are preparing for metered billing with the company's OpenScale service.

Enterprise IT administrators have heard of Web-based software from Microsoft Corp. and grid computing from IBM and Sun Microsystems Inc.—and now, according to EMC Corp. officials, its time for subscription storage.

On the heels of the launches of AutoAdvice and SAN Architect services, respectively, for technical support and infrastructure design, EMCs now preparing for metered billing with its OpenScale service, officials said.

OpenScale itself has existed since 1999 as "a series of financing options," said spokesman Dave Farmer, in Hopkinton, Mass. "The newer aspect is the metering, automated billing functions. Well be saying more about it in the future," he said, declining to specify timing or other user benefits.

The new features are tailored for large customers, Farmer said. Also, EMC will limit its services to software and administration; becoming an actual storage service provider, a fad of the dot-com era, is not the plan, he said.

OpenScale connects customer data centers to its own with modules called Collectors, running through the existing EMClink.net support site.

"Collector server can remotely collect information from many systems without agents installed on each system. … The data collection engine may remotely invoke some programs on a monitored system, but no full-time 24x7 agents need to be installed or managed," a public document at the existing EMClink.net site states.

Collector modules, built with technology from EMCs $50 million acquisition of Luminate Software Corp. in 2001, run on Windows servers and support EMCs high-end Symmetrix and midrange Clariion arrays, Celerra network-attached storage, and rival Network Appliance Inc.s hardware. HP-UX, Linux, Solaris, AIX and Windows operating systems are supported, the documents state. There are also modules for Oracle Corp. and SAP AG applications, they state.

The public documents are at www.emclink.net/downloads.

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