Customer View: EMC Control Center

Watching the bottom line, Jetblue Airways CIO Jeff Cohen went with EMC's Control Center as a 'total cost of ownership' matter.

Remember Cracker Jack prizes? They arent the highest quality toys, but they come right in the box of that candied popcorn—and theyre free.

Thats how some companies view EMCs ControlCenter storage management software: Its not the best, but then again, its not the most expensive.

Some contend it lacks features compared with offerings from Veritas, IBM and others.

While EMC has made ControlCenter more user-friendly, some customers say its not friendly enough: They still must jump between screens to administer storage management and backup. Another gripe: ontrolCenter lacks powerful scripting tools to customize the software.

Still, customers say EMC software is less expensive because its bundled with the companys market-leading hardware. And by their accounts, EMC has been willing to discount the software as much as 20% when bundled with EMC hardware.

"Our decision came down to economics," says Rebecca Naughton of biotech company Incyte Corp., which 18 months ago installed ControlCenter along with EMC hardware.

Another customer, JetBlue, also uses both EMC hardware and software. CIO Jeff Cohen likens the decision to buying integrated desktop applications from Microsoft rather than getting each application separately. "Its a total-cost-of-ownership thing."

Yet some EMC customers, such as Rockwell Collins, still buy storage software from multiple vendors. They say that products like ControlCenter may not support some non-EMC devices automatically or as well as the software from the devices own manufacturer.

Rockwell Collins turned to other software to manage network-attached storage from Network Appliance as well as storage attached to longtime departmental systems. The reason? The company hasnt had time to test EMCs software for the Network Appliance devices, says Rockwells Ed Malamut. But he still expects that one day hell be able to use EMC to manage storage across multiple hardware devices. "Our vision is that, in the not-too-distant future, we will have one view of, and one way to manage, everything we have."

And thats worth more than a free prize.

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