Amidst ongoing price wars with its rivals and on the heels of a lukewarm earnings announcement, storage industry giant EMC Corp. today announced updated SAN management software and a new business continuance service, slowly pulling out onto the road to what officials have said will be the companys busiest year ever.
Enterprise Storage Network Manager 2.0 improves on ESN 1.0 by adding support for Compaq Computer Corp.s StorageWorks 8000 series storage-area networks and their Enterprise Virtual Array line, said George Mele, director of software markets and products.
"That represents over 50 percent of the installed SANs out there," he said.
The new version also adds APIs to EMCs mid-range Clariion line of direct-attached storage, and theres a new zone configuration feature that works through multiple hops of disparate switches, he said.
In addition to new security features, EMC will likely have a mid-year release with more hardware support from other vendors, Mele said. Looking beyond that, "Compaq is certainly developing unique applications they may want to talk to us about," citing systems management for Microsoft Corp.s Windows NT and the Linux operating systems, and "new lines of appliances they deliver, fixed function devices," Mele said, in Hopkinton, Mass.
A specific function, he said, is Compaqs VersaStor virtualization product. That "could be an example of an application, it has to be managed. Its been delayed twice now," Mele said.
Late last year, EMC President and CEO Joe Tucci said that a virtualization product would debut "in the not-too-distant future," but company officials would not comment further in interviews last week.
ESN 2.0, available now, is priced on a per-gigabyte range, with one terabyte costing about $20,000, decreasing in volume, Mele said. ESN 1.0 customers with maintenance contracts get a free upgrade, he said.
Meanwhile, EMC officials are also launching a Rapid Results business continuance offering today, tailored for the mid-size and enterprise departments sector. Not new technology per se, Rapid Results is a program to help such organizations move their existing EMC business continuance products from customer-premise scenarios to remote ones, program director John Egan said. After assessing a users situation, "EMC will then design and implement a solution in 30 business days," according to a company statement.
But EMC isnt making any specific guarantee. Its between a user and his sales representative to determine what can be done in 30 days, or even if the user meets the programs unspecified criteria, and what happens if the deadline isnt met, Egan said.
"What weve been doing is to create a new emphasis, explain to customers that maybe have moved part of the way to having a complete business continuance solution to going the rest of the way," Egan said. "Over the next few months, we will be releasing new solution offerings where we are the onsite services expertise."
He declined to give details.
Despite the acceleration of EMCs move into new software and services, which is its stated goal in order to become less reliant on hardware sales, users continue to echo the sentiment that their storage and intellectual property isnt the place to take chances. New offerings like todays from EMC "wont affect our future purchases or anything," said Howard Stewart, manager of radiology information systems and picture archival communication systems, at Southern Ohio Medical Center. For the Portsmouth-based organization with 2.7 terabytes of data on EMCs high-end Symmetrix systems attached to Sun Microsystems Inc. servers, he said, "Theres a lot of hardware out there thats as good."