EMC forged its way further up the storage food chain last week, with the launch of its new array of storage management software, Automated Information Storage (AIS).
The storage vendor's open system new range attempts to eliminate stove pipes inherent in multi-vendor storage environments.
The line-up includes ControlCenter/Open Edition enterprise storage management environment, WideSky storage management middleware, ControlCenter replication manager and ControlCenter StorageScope for storage and network reporting. All are available immediately except the WideSky and Open Edition, which will hit the market in January 2002.
"All of these products are aimed at solving the mess we've got into in terms of storage management," said James Rothnie, EMC's senior vice president and chief technology officer.
EMC will initially handle all sales and integration of the new products directly, although it claims it has no intention of retaining this strategy for the long term.
Paul Rath, EMC South Asia's general manager, predicted it would take six to nine months before partners become fully versed with the AIS, depending on the level of commitment they put in. EMC will allow its product to flow through the channel only when it is satisfied with competence levels.
"Business from channel partners [in relation to EMC software sales] is currently around the 20 per cent mark," said Rath. "Clearly this announcement will see that figure increase."
While the launch is by no means EMC's first software venture, it is the first time the vendor's applications have been sold independent of its hardware. Rothnie said it is representative of an increased dedication and focus in this area, which currently reaps 25 per cent of EMC's total revenue.
"Part of the hidden agenda is to drive a de facto industry standard," said Clive Gold, integrated marketing and sales support manager for Australia and NZ.
The company is hailing the launch of the AIS range as a directional change on par with the decision made in the early 90s to focus purely on storage. The hope is that software sales will account for 30 per cent of total revenue within the next three years.
The announcement was accompanied by the inevitable stab at the competition, and EMC was keen to have itself compared to rivals Veritas, Hitachi Data Systems, IBM and Compaq.
Steve Faris, vice president of marketing for EMC Asia-Pacific, urged people to scratch the surface of competitors that claim to offer a comprehensive storage management solution.