EMC Moves Ahead on Storage Management Plans

Slowly, EMC Corp. is delivering on its heterogeneous storage management promise announced last fall.

Slowly, EMC Corp. is delivering on its heterogeneous storage management promise announced last fall.

The Hopkinton, Mass., company will announce a new storage resource management interface to its developer program on Wednesday, said Don Swatik, vice president of alliances. Developers can use the new offering, called SRM API, to support existing EMC partners products, like databases from IBM, Microsoft Corp., Oracle Corp. and Sybase Inc., file systems from Compaq Computer Corp., Hewlett-Packard Co., IBM, Microsoft, Linux ext2, Sun Microsystems Inc. and Veritas Software Corp., and volume managers from Compaq, Microsoft, IBM, Sun and Veritas, Swatik said.

"Were taking something that was used in-house and making it open to the world. EMC has done that interfacing for them," Swatik said. "Later on this year, therell be native Java and XML interfaces into it also."

The SRM functionality works by having the applications makers integrate the API into their products, and so far only Oracle, of Redwood City, Calif., has made such integration public.

"This cycle takes multiple quarters to sometimes a year to have partners bring to the marketplace," Swatik said. "Over time we will see the evolution of parts going higher and higher up the food chain here into specific applications."

Other supporting vendors are BMC Software Inc., Brocade Communications Systems Inc., Citrix Systems Inc., CommVault Systems Inc., Computer Associates International Inc., Legato Systems Inc., McData Corp., Novell Inc., Precise Software Solutions Ltd., QLogic Corp., Quest Software Inc., SAP AG, and SAS Institute Inc. However, all of these vendors are current EMC partners; none specifically joined for the SRM, Swatik said."

But theres a catch. None of the partners touted by EMC Tuesday actually makes storage, just hardware and software to support it. Since the addition of Houston-based Compaq into EMCs API realm in November, no other significant storage partners have joined, and Compaq executives have publicly criticized EMC since then. Most users say theyre waiting for more such partners before theyll take the category of management software from a hardware vendor seriously.

EMC and rivals like IBM and Hitachi Ltd.s Hitachi Data Systems division have acknowledged discussions for the past several months, but Swatik on Tuesday only described himself as "enthusiastic" about the talks.

"The outside world has focused overly heavily on measuring success by whether theres going to be another API swap or not," and EMC will succeed regardless, he said. Whats holding up the process "is absolutely not EMC. We have gone out and initiated virtually all of the discussions."

If the competition doesnt join voluntarily, then "itll be customer pressure" that forces them to do so, he said.

EMC also will announce Wednesday that its changing the name of the E-Infostructure Developers Program to the EMC Developers Program. Also, the companys hired Chris Gahagan as senior vice president, storage infrastructure software. Previously, Gahagan was at Houstons BMC Software Inc., as vice president and general manager, enterprise systems management. At EMC hell report to Erez Ofer, executive vice president of open software operations, officials said.