EMC Extends Lead In Storage Management - InformationWeek

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EMC Extends Lead In Storage Management

$1.3 billion acquisition of Legato Systems will expand and improve its offerings

The need for data storage is growing by 50% a year at many companies. Yet, the utilization rate of most enterprise storage systems ranges between 15% and 20%. With IT budgets still tight, business-technology managers are looking to satisfy the need for more storage by making better use of the systems they already own. The answer: better storage resource-management software.

The growing demand for more-sophisticated storage-management software is fueling moves by vendors to expand and improve their software offerings. Market leader EMC Corp. last week disclosed plans to acquire Legato Systems Inc. in a stock swap valued at $1.3 billion. A week earlier, EMC bought a storage-management product from BMC Software. And in the past year, EMC bought storage resource-management specialist Astrum Software and storage network-management company Prisa Networks.

chartThe deals should help EMC maintain its lead in a large and growing market (see chart). Worldwide sales of storage-management software were $4.9 billion last year and will jump to $9.1 billion in 2006, according to the Yankee Group.

EMC's competitors aren't sitting still. IBM's Tivoli division has added advanced features for managing storage area networks to its software suite, which includes backup-and-recovery, error-detection, fault-isolation, and resource-management capabilities. Hewlett- Packard, which became a major storage hardware vendor with its Compaq acquisition, is developing a network architecture that ties storage to its overall utility-computing strategy. HP last week said it will work with vendors such as BMC, CreekPath Systems, and Veritas Software to develop systems that comply with the Storage Management Interface Specification, a new standard that's expected to be ratified later this year. Veritas is expanding its management software to provide high availability and performance management for a wider range of software, including applications. And little-known LXI Corp. released a suite of storage-management apps for IBM's iSeries computers.

The long-term goal is to provide automated life-cycle management of data. That requires sophisticated software to track and manage data as it moves from one storage system to another. Such capabilities are becoming more important as businesses expand their storage networks to share data with employees around the world. But vendors must enhance their software and fill out their product lines to make it all work.

Paul Sikova and Joe Furmanski

Storage software saves time for the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, say Furmanski (left) and Sikova.
Storage-management software already is helping organizations such as the University of Pittsburgh's Medical Center Health System, which has 70 terabytes of storage and several storage area networks. Its IT budget and capital expenditures have been cut two years in a row. "We're forced to manage the storage more efficiently and share it across the organization," says Paul Sikova, director of operations.

So the medical center is consolidating its storage networks. It's using storage-management tools from HP, IBM, and IBM's Tivoli division. "Staff reductions have forced units to combine resources so they count more on central resources," Sikova says. Joe Furmanski, the project's technical director, is beginning to deploy HP's Storage Builder to help manage storage capacity. "Software allows one person to do a lot more with the storage," he says. "Software saves time for our people."

New regulations that require companies to keep more business records for longer periods of time and produce them quickly when requested by authorities also are placing greater demands on storage systems. In addition, more companies want to improve their business continuity and backup-and-recovery processes, which can be done only if storage is managed efficiently.

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