Monday, 28 August 2006

EMC and storage growth

I had the pleasure of a tour around the EMC manufacturing plant in Cork last week. Other than the obvious interest in attention to quality I experienced, the thing that struck me most was the sheer volume of equipment being shipped out the door. Now I know the plant ships to most of the world bar North America, however seeing all those DMX and Clariion units waiting to be shipped out was amazing.

It was assuring to see the volume of storage being shipped all over the world - especially from my position as a Storage Consultant. However it brings home more than ever the challenges going forward of managing ever increasing volumes of storage. I also spent some time to see the latest versions of EMC products such as ECC, SAN Advisor and SMARTS.

ECC has moved on. It used to be a monolithic ineffectual product in the original releases at version 5, however the product seems wholly more usable. I went back after the visit and looked at an ECC 5.2 SP4 installation. There were features I should have been using; I will be using ECC more.

SAN Advisor looks potentially good - it matches your installation to the EMC Support Matrix (which used to be a PDF and now is a tool) and highlights any issues of non-conformance. In a large environment SAN Advisor would be extremely useful, however not all environments are EMC only and multi-vendor support for the tool will be essential. Secondly, the interface seems a bit clunky, work needed there. Lastly, I'd want to add my own rules and want to make them complex - so for instance where I was migrating to new storage, I'd want to validate my existing environment against it and to highlight devices not conforming to my own internal support matrix.

SMARTS uses clever technology to perform root cause analysis of faults in an IP or Storage Network. The IP functionality looked good however at this stage I could see limited appeal on the SAN side.

All in all, food for thought and a great trip!

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