EMC is set to end a frustrating two-year wait by its users for a new version of its flagship ControlCenter storage resource management (SRM) software.

Version 6.0 of the software, to be introduced this week, includes support for EMC’s virtual server technology and more flexible reporting and customisation capabilities, the company said.

Lori Motzko, a Windows systems manager at Kentucky-based SHPS, said the lack of support for EMC’s VMware virtualisation tool was a glaring problem with earlier versions of ControlCenter.

“One of the major frustrations that administrators have with EMC is they own VMware and yet they don’t have agents compatible with ControlCenter right now,” said Motzko. “When you’re zoning disks — and VMware is a zone-disk hog — you have to do it all manually. Now they tell me they have a [VMware] agent. That’s a big deal.”

SHPS, a health management tools provider, currently runs ControlCenter 5.2 with Service Pack 5 and has 2TB allocated to its VMware ESX servers. Customer Urgency

Motzko said she has been “frantically waiting” for EMC to upgrade ControlCenter. She noted that the growing dependency of data, applications and databases upon available disk space is making SRM a must-have capability for her to properly manage, reallocate and provision storage.

However, she also criticised the new offering for the lack of clustering awareness in StorageScope, the SRM monitoring and reporting component of ControlCenter.

“I’m kind of upset that in 6.0, [StorageScope] is still not cluster-aware. That is very aggravating to me,” noted Motzko, who said the omission leads her SRM reports to initially say a cluster server sharing disk has twice as many available gigabytes at the host level than it actually does.

EMC said that it expects the new VMware support will allow organisations to boost capacity planning by more closely aligning physical and virtual environments through SRM visualisation, provisioning and mapping.

Pricing for Version 6.0 of ControlCenter starts at $39,000 for a 10TB configuration, the company said.

Available at the end of June, the updated ControlCenter can help administrators discover individual VMware guests, such as the version of an operating system, IP address and guest name, EMC said. The system can then offer reports about virtual disk file and raw storage device capacity mapped to each virtual machine guest, it noted.

ControlCenter includes 12 out-of-box built-in reports, and it can take action on files by creating policies to make changes and clean up storage environments by removing duplicate files, EMC said.

In addition, the upgraded SRM software expands active management capabilities for Hitachi Ltd. storage arrays and features support for non-EMC storage systems based on the Storage Management Initiative Specification 1.1 standard.

Forrester Research Inc. analyst Andrew Reichman said some organisations avoid using SRM technology because of its cost and complexity. However, he said, eschewing the technology could lead to more problems — like making ill-advised decisions.

“Problem No. 1 is customers don’t seem to be getting what they need” from SRM today, said Reichman. Still, he added, “without it, when you run out of capacity on a platform, you can’t react smart, so you act fast and under the gun. Then you buy storage at a bad price in a rush purchase.”

Until larger SRM vendors like EMC make significant product improvements, Reichman suggested that organizations may want to consider agentless options by smaller vendors such as Onaro and MonoSphere.