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In an effort to help small and midsize companies transition from direct attached to network storage and more easily migrate to Microsoft Exchange 2003, EMC has introduced an e-mail management and exchange migration tool that combines and adds functionality to two of the company’s products.

EMC Corp.’s Storage Administrator for Exchange combines the original Storage Administrator for Exchange software the Hopkinton, Mass., company inherited when it acquired e-mail storage vendor Allocity Inc. in 2004 with EMC’s Clariion networked storage system.

The resulting product makes it easier for SMBs (small to midsize businesses) with 3,000 e-mail boxes or fewer to move to networked storage, and eases the path toward Exchange 2003 for those companies that may not have migrated yet, said Katie Curtin-Mestre, EMC’s director of Clariion software marketing.

The product also acts as a plug-in to the Microsoft Exchange System Manager interface, providing SMBs with the ability to manage e-mail, migrate data and manage SAN storage from one tool, Curtin-Mestre said.

“They have everything they need to manage their Clariion storage right from their Exchange interface, which makes it particularly well-suited to customers that don’t have dedicated storage administrators,” she said.

In addition to helping SMB customers manage e-mail and storage and migrate more easily to Exchange 2003, EMC Storage Administrator for Exchange also helps organizations recover more quickly from server failures by reassigning storage groups from a failed server to an active server.

The product also provides a lower cost alternative to clustering—something smaller organizations may have been avoiding because of the expense, Curtin-Mestre said.

“This helps them have a more highly available Exchange environment,” she said.

Addressing the needs of the SMB market is a smart move for a company like EMC that traditionally hasn’t had a large presence in that market, said Tony Asaro, senior analyst at Enterprise Strategy Group of Milford, Mass.

Click here to read more about EMC’s new Clariion models and disk library products.

Asaro said he sees the product introduction as part of an overall move to more aggressively penetrate the market.

“There is really no major player that’s really strong from a storage perspective in the SMB market today, but there is plenty of potential, because there are millions of SMBs that none of these companies really has yet that they can tap into,” he said.

Because of the potential, Asaro expects more storage vendors to introduce products that compete directly with Storage Administrator for Exchange.

“The storage systems and software vendors are getting smarter and smarter about how to better create interaction between actual applications and storage, and do it all behind the scenes,” he said.

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