EMC World 2009 – Day Two – SRM Futures

This morning I sat in on an overview of future plans for Storage Resource Management, hosted by Scott Shaffer and Ryan Fournier, who lead the engineering and product management teams for ControlCenter (and other products) here at EMC.  They did a great job of talking about what we have today, what’s new in ControlCenter 6.1, and where we’re heading in the mysterious “SRM 7”.

Scott and Ryan played off of each other well, taking up the roles of an advocate for Agentless versus Agent when discovering the data center.  At the start, the crowd was overwhelmingly in favor of agentless technology, but by the end, when describing all the challenges involved, people began to understand it wasn’t a black and white question anymore.  Of course, the real joke was when the crowd was once again surveyed, there were single-digit votes for both agent and agentless.  Everyone else, evidently, wants magic — discovering everything about the data center without agents and without needing to worry about all the problems agentless discovery brings.

That magic is of course “passive” discovery, which we have heard is quite acceptable for many of our users.  Get “just enough” information from the switches and the storage arrays to infer management information about hosts.  The good news is that SRM 7 is being built to combine all three approaches.

The theme of “just enough” came up over and over again.  There’s a huge difference between getting all the data you need, and getting all the data there is, just in case you need it some day.  How do we get leaner and faster?  One mechanism is simply to gather less data.  I look forward to seeing how this goes.

The presentation ended with a single slide left on screen.  In twelve months, users will be able to see the first versions of a whole suite of storage management components built on this new architecture.  As someone whose developers are working on this, it was a clear message.  We have a lot of work to do if we’re going to keep this promise to our customers.

There are more detailed sessions planned for talking about our next generation of management products, and if you’re interested I suggest you seek them out.  And of course you can follow the overall RMSG approach (for much more than just ControlCenter) at their blog.