Could EMC be an IT management technology contender?

With a slew of acquisitions under its belt, EMC built quite the war chest of IT management technologies, potentially enough to compete against market-leading vendors BMC, CA, HP and IBM.

Industry watchers say EMC is prepping to become a leading IT management software vendor in 2010 and beyond.

As enterprise IT managers face ever-more complex environments that require advanced management technologies, more and more companies usually not mentioned in an IT management discussion are starting to make themselves heard. Software vendors such as Oracle and Microsoft in 2009 augmented their management software portfolios via acquisition and infrastructure providers like Cisco and EMC continue to crank out management capabilities – in some cases via partnerships – for virtual and cloud computing environments.

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EMC, in particular, acquired several key management technologies over the years – Smarts, nLayers, Voyence, Infra and Configuresoft – making industry watchers curious as to how the vendor will bring it all together. EMC offered a bit of insight into its plan when it unveiled its Ionix management software suite earlier this year, which followed closely on the heels of its Configuresoft buy. The capabilities EMC now has in-house could help the company compete against vendors such as BMC, CA, HP and IBM, often called the Big Four. Customers looking for broad IT management strategy and partnership with a vendor, rather than investing in point products, could also consider EMC when making an IT management plan, analysts say.

“I am fairly bullish on EMC’s IT management portfolio and prospects at this point,” says Glenn O’Donnell, senior analyst at Forrester Research. “The company needs to do a lot of things, but they have many of the pieces to provide a complete IT management portfolio, with the exception of a hole in the application analysis and performance management area.”

EMC executives say the company is working on its application management portfolio and today offers capabilities to customers via a partnership with NetQoS (which was acquired in 2009 by CA). EMC also resells VMware’s vCenter AppSpeed. The software, according to a VMware Web site, “measures the latency experienced by the application end users and correlates that latency to different tiers of the underlying physical and virtual infrastructure.” With such capabilities, EMC says it can help customers better gauge application performance in virtual and physical environments. And according to EMC senior director of marketing for Ionix Bob Quillin, the company plans to make news around application management in the first quarter of 2010.

“Our IT operations intelligence products are able to take in application performance management feeds from third-party vendors, but we will be making more news around that area soon," Quillin says.

Another interesting EMC buy, according to Forrester Research Senior Analyst Evelyn Hubbert, is FastScale. The acquisition extends EMC's Ionix product packages for automating IT management across storage, computing, network and virtualization resources, the company says. EMC also said at the time of the acquisition that FastScale technology can help customers run up to three times more virtual machines with degrading performance because it is focused on simplifying application and server stack management as well as easing the deployment of physical, virtual and cloud infrastructures.

“It is clear since EMC announced the Ionix strategy that they realize there are bigger fish to fry to compete in the management market,” Hubbert says. “The company is still missing some pieces, but EMC does automation really well and can manage virtual environments, which are both hot areas for 2010.”

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Copyright © 2009 IDG Communications, Inc.

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