Analysts Upbeat on EMC's Smarts BuyBy Karen Schwartz | Print
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EMC's latest tech acquisition could make the vendor's SAN management software the top of the heap, analysts say. The move could spark a software buying spree among competitors.Storage vendor EMC Corp. continues its metamorphosis into a software company with another acquisition. Analysts said its Tuesday purchase of Smarts Inc. provides a long-needed enhancement to the intelligence of its core-event management and correlation technologies.
Analysts said the move, the latest in EMC's software acquisitions this year, may spark similar moves for intelligent storage management technology from its competitors.
"[EMC] needed to fill a hole in their product set," said John Webster, senior analyst with Data Mobility Group of Nashua, N.H.
"The technology presents what is really happening in the environment, the topology view of where it's happening, the application view of what it affects within the IT system, a dashboard view of the impact based on the interrelationships, and the business view of why it matters," explained EMC vice president Howard Elias. "It's that combination approach that allows you to take the appropriate action in an increasingly automated way."
To extend its reach beyond storage probably was the main driver for EMC's acquisition, said Michael Karp, senior analyst with Enterprise Management Associates of Westboro, Mass. The company is continuing its push into the area of utility computing.
"It allows them to look at more of the overall enterprisean absolute necessity if they are to be thought of as a key player in providing utility services," he said.
The Smarts acquisition is a recognition by EMC that LAN/WAN infrastructure behavior will continue to impact storage-centric functions such as backup, replication, migration and even centralized management of distributed SAN (storage area networks) and NAS (network-attached storage)," noted William Hurley, a senior analyst with Enterprise Strategy Group of Milford, Mass.
EMC plans to integrate Smarts' modeling and correlation technologies into its own offerings, eventually enabling EMC's storage management software to intelligently correlate, determine root cause problems and present a plan of action for critical problems across the storage network, Elias said. Since the technology can gather events and apply the correlation technology to any component of the infrastructurephysical or virtualit will be able to work well with the VMware Inc.
Analysts said the integration of Smarts technology into EMC's product lineup may make EMC's software both more robust and a premier choice for managing centralized, heterogeneous storage. It could rise to become the "manager of managers," essentially the master console in environments with legacy systems management products, Hurley said.
EMC's acquisition of Smarts follows many others this year, including VMWare,
"VMware in particular is causing both customers and vendors to think differently about the IT ecosystem architecture and the management of this new model," he said. "We see a strong complement between robust, centralized discovery, event correlation and service analysis and the adoption of virtualized infrastructure."
According to Webster, the Smarts acquisition will cause EMC's competitorsnotably Hewlett-Packard Co., IBM and BMC Software Inc.to sit up and take notice. "This could be powerful stuff when integrated with other storage network management tools," Webster said.
Meanwhile, EMC's move may spark EMC's competitors to consider acquiring like functionality from companies such as Onaro Inc. of Boston, Mass. Any vendor that sees storage management as strategically important will be on the lookout for a likely candidate, Webster said. The EMC deal is expected to close in the first quarter of 2005, officials said.
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