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The storage management space is today one of the most dynamic sectors of the IT industry, writes Tony Lock
of Bloor Research

The area is crowded with vendors, big and small, all jockeying for position in the race to gain market share. It is also worthwhile recognising that the vendors of storage software tools are also locked into a battle to gain customer "recognition" as the area's leading supplier of "heterogeneous" solutions.

Last week a very interesting move saw EMC and BMC announce details of the formation of a Global Software Partnership between the two organisations. The deal will see EMC acquire the rights to BMC Software's Patrol Storage Manager (PSM) while BMC will resell EMC's ControlCenter products.

The details reveal that in addition to obtaining exclusive rights to the BMC PSM technology, EMC will in future provide level 2 and 3 service support to current users. Furthermore, the two companies will seek to migrate PSM's existing user base to EMC ControlCenter products, including EMC San Manager, StorageScope and Common Array Manager, which provide similar functionality.

The other side of the partnership deal will see BMC become the first "software only" reseller of EMC's ControlCenter offerings. Beyond this reseller agreement it has been announced that EMC will become a Foundation Member of BMC's Business Service Management (BSM) initiative.

This news certainly helps to clear up the somewhat muddled statements made by BMC earlier in the year concerning the company's plans for elements of its storage management toolset. Under the terms of this agreement BMC will now be able to offer its existing customers of Patrol Storage Manager "equivalent" licenses for EMC ControlCenter in order to provide either an upgrade path or a migration route.

Whilst BMC will continue to maintain PSM Knowledge Modules it has been stressed that the PSM software will not be developed beyond the existing V2.2 code base. EMC ControlCenter is now positioned to be the path ahead for customers of PSM.

It will be interesting to note how effective BMC and EMC will be in communicating these developments to the users of PSM. Both companies are committed to a programme of joint sales and marketing. From BMC's perspective it is equally important that the company communicates clearly that MainView SRM, its Mainframe based storage management tool, is still around and is still being developed.

Overall this announcement is interesting on many fronts. Both EMC and BMC have significant war chests of cash available to fund suitable acquisitions. BMC has certainly lost visibility in the storage management arena with its less than obvious repositioning earlier this year. EMC on the other hand has been expending more energy on the software side of its business for the last two years and has made it a priority to enhance its software capabilities.

BMC is automatically associated with its capabilities in the wider heterogeneous systems management arena. With the two organisations now looking for opportunities for further product integration it will be fascinating to see if EMC can raise both the profile and the capabilities of its storage management tools in heterogeneous environments.

There is much potential contained in this limited tie up between BMC and EMC. We shall have to wait to see how the relationship develops and, much more importantly, how the customers react. One thing is certain; all of the suppliers of management software will watch this dance of the xMCs very, very closely.

© IT-Analysis.com

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