Staying in Control

EMC's Control Center 5.1.1 ties host, database monitoring into storage management framework.

EMC Corp.s Control Center 5.1.1 shows that the powerful hardware vendor is serious about becoming a legitimate software company—even if that means supporting the products of rival vendors.

EMC Control Center 5.1.1, which started shipping last month, is basically a management framework, to which several EMC tools can connect to add functionality. Control Center 5.1.1 is free with the purchase of any of the applications that plug into it.

These plug-ins, all of which are available now, include two that especially intrigued eWEEK Labs: EMCs ARM (Automatic Resource Manager) application, priced at $5,800, which keeps track of storage resources and automatically provisions additional storage when needed, and the $3,300 StorageScope application, which tracks historical use of network storage.

Also available are Common Array Manager, priced at $1,000, which works on multiple platforms and manages RAID arrays; the $16,000 SAN Manager, which provides comprehensive network management; and WorkLoad Analyzer, a database monitoring tool priced at $6,600.

In some respects, Control Center is more of a family of products than a single offering. Many software vendors sell families of storage products, including applications such as SRM (storage resource management) and storage network management. However, this is the first time weve seen host and database monitoring and management capabilities hooked into a storage management framework.

Using Control Center 5.1.1, we could not only manage and monitor enterprise-class RAID units, but also look after SAN (storage area network) switches and even monitor a wide variety of Unix and Windows hosts and databases (see screen).

In tests, we were impressed by Control Centers array of host- monitoring and management capabilities, which separate it from most of the storage management packages weve seen and put it closer to the enterprise system management market.