EMC Sets Sights on IT Management

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EMC (NYSE: EMC) is tying together its IT automation and management software in what EMC senior product marketing director Bob Quillin calls “the culmination of a five-year strategy.”

The new EMC Ionix line includes all the data center automation and management technology the company has acquired or developed over the last several years and brings it all together (see EMC Sets Its Sights on Automated Data Management).

Ionix unites EMC’s Smarts, nLayer, Infra, Voyence, ControlCenter and Configuresoft offerings to help users manage physical and virtual IT infrastructures, including servers, networks, storage and applications, as the data storage giant continues to evolve into a player in the broader data center and IT management space.

Quillin said the product suite is a “strong competitive alternative to the Big Four” IT management companies of HP (NYSE: HPQ), IBM (NYSE: IBM), CA (NYSE: CA) and BMC (NYSE: BMC).

That said, Quillin said the offerings are “built to be very modular,” with pricing starting at about $25,000.

“We don’t have blinders on in terms of assuming that everyone’s going to drop what they’re doing,” he said.

Steve Duplessie, founder and senior analyst at Enterprise Strategy Group, said in a statement that the incumbents in the IT management market “built monolithic software to support monolithic physical infrastructures that weren’t designed to be modular. Additionally, they were built well before anyone ever heard of virtualization, let alone the cloud. It’s obvious to me that EMC has the pieces — including the services — to disrupt the current IT management market.”

EMC’s Ionix lineup includes four categories: service discovery and mapping, IT operations intelligence, data center automation and compliance, and service management.

Discovery and mapping offers “visibility into complex applications and their physical and virtual dependencies,” EMC says, supporting and enabling configuration management database (CMDB) and configuration management system (CMS) population, change management and application troubleshooting, and mapping servers and applications before data center moves, consolidations and virtualization migrations.

Operations intelligence offers automated root-cause and impact analysis and monitors services across both physical and virtual environments. The solution lets customers see the relationships between virtual machines (VMs), the VMware (NYSE: VMW) ESX Servers they reside on and the network.

Data center automation and compliance helps users maintain configuration compliance for servers, storage, applications and networks.

Service management “enables customers to rapidly deploy scalable and cost-effective IT Infrastructure Library (ITIL) service management,” EMC said, including integration with CMDBs and workflow automation. Customers “can build a federated CMDB that is auto-populated with physical and virtual CIs and dependencies,” the company said.

Hans Keller, senior director of IT operations at Maryland-based Erickson Retirement Communities, said his organization is using Ionix for a number of uses, “but ultimately for unified processes.”

The EMC customer has implemented, or is in the process of implementing, service management, service discovery and mapping, operations intelligence (the renamed EMC Smarts product suite), and some of the automation and compliance tools, said Keller. The tools have replaced a collection of ad-hoc tools that the company had previously used to manage its environment. Full implementation is expected to be completed by the end of the year.

“Ultimately, what we will gain from the full implementation of the suite is a unified and integrated solution that will allow us much greater visibility into how the services and applications that we provide to the enterprise are functioning and whether or not we are providing the high levels of usability that our customers expect,” Keller told Enterprise Storage Forum. “We will also have the ability to achieve much faster root cause analysis, which will lead to quicker resolution times for incidents and problems.”

The company also plans to use the tools for insight into its production environment as it begins to virtualize that too.

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Paul Shread
Paul Shread
eSecurity Editor Paul Shread has covered nearly every aspect of enterprise technology in his 20+ years in IT journalism, including an award-winning series on software-defined data centers. He wrote a column on small business technology for Time.com, and covered financial markets for 10 years, from the dot-com boom and bust to the 2007-2009 financial crisis. He holds a market analyst certification.

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