EMC lays out virtual advances

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EMC has launched a new version of its Smarts Application Discovery Manager tool, aimed at making the management of virtual environments easier.

Smarts ADM 6.0 is designed to work with VMware-based virtual environments, enabling users to understand how applications link to the physical data centre infrastructure.

“Virtualisation brings an additional challenge in that you don’t have full insight into the data center and it is difficult to ensure the environment is being maintained in a compliant way,” said Chris Gahagan, senior vice president of the EMC resource management software group.

“We want to give customers insight into how their environment is configured and in how their best practices can be maintained,” he added.

Using Smarts ADM 6.0 in conjunction with EMC’s new IT Compliance Analyser- Application Editon 1.1, also allows users to ensure VMware implementation strategies are compliant with regulatory requirements, such as the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard.

“Users can now manage the impact of change and compliance because they can understand the relationships that exist within your infrastructure,” said Gahagan.

“For example, if you make a change to the server, you know all the related products to that server that will be affected,” he added.

He explained Smarts ADM 6.0 will automatically discover data centre infrastructure violations, and then create a “service ticket” to ensure the violation is resolved.

“Being compliant in the VMware environment has been, until today, very difficult,” concluded Chad Sakac, EMC VMware strategic alliance senior director.

But marketing consultant and blogger for StorageMojo, Robin Harris, said: “What is interesting about the announcement is that they have not thought to provide the [virtualisation] capability before now. Now, what springs to mind is what else are they not providing?”

The price of Smarts SDM 6.0 will vary according to the size of the environment customers want to deploy it to, and customers can choose to just deploy the management solution to virtual environments if they are operating a mixed data centre.

Gahagan said eventually EMC will offer the virtual infrastructure management support system to other virtualisation platforms, rather than just VMware.

EMC acknowledged a common problem for IT departments is that because it is so easy to start virtualisation strategies, they often get caught up “in a case of virtual sprawl”.

“Virtualisation has more management problems than physical machines but we are caught up in the illusion that because it is virtual it is somewhat not real," added StorageMojo’s Harris.

EMC also promised to deliver what it terms "virtual provisioning" for its network storage product Clariion.

Virtual provisioning is EMC’s alternative to thin provisioning – which it claims can enable customers to expand their storage capacity easier, faster, and without data loss, in comparison to the alternative thin provisioning.

Finally, Vance Checketts, chief operating officer for Mozy, EMC’s software-as-a-service online backup offering said it would be using technology from its acquisition of personal information management start-up Pi to bring features such as mobile access, file sharing and synchronisation features to Mozy customers. Mozy provides way for users to backup their files to a 'cloud'.
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