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EMC's grand stretch across the data center continued this week with the purchase of Voyence - a maker of network configuration software.

We can't confess to knowing a whole lot about Voyence, although the Texas-based firm seems popular enough. HP, for example, started reselling Voyence software last year as its OpenView Network Configuration Manager. And Voyence points to Sun Microsystems, Oracle and IBM as other chums.

Voyence seems to lead with its aiding and abetting compliance angle, since that's a hot topic of the moment. Basically, you can use the company's software to map out the hardware in your network and then track any configuration changes made to that hardware. So, if some rogue BOFH - aren't they all? - starts routing financial information somewhere naughty, you have a record of it.

No compliance-loving bandwagoneer would be complete without complementary virtualization, security and automation plays. So, please welcome VoyenceControl NG - you're one stop shop for network design and maintenance.

According to EMC, "It is the only network configuration and change management solution based on a multi-tiered architecture that can effectively manage tens of thousands of devices across multi-vendor network infrastructures. In addition to its continued value as a standalone product, Voyence's existing integration with EMC Smarts enables customers to integrate network configuration change events detected by VoyenceControl into Smarts to resolve issues caused by misconfigurations. Furthermore, to close the loop, Smarts users can directly access VoyenceControl's rich configuration database and launch remediation procedures from the Smarts interface."

With every buy like this, IBM, HP, Dell and Sun Microsystems must start thinking about how long they'll let EMC continue unabated. The pure play storage vendor of old has totally been replaced by one with tentacles stretching throughout the data center. We're not really sure that this new EMC can, for example, get away with its "arm's length" ties to VMware. That was cute enough a couple of years ago, but must look rather daunting now to the Tier 1 server vendors who both partner and compete against EMC.

Financial terms for the Voyence deal were not released. ®

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