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BMC hands its storage customers to EMC

Kevin Komiega

BMC Software Inc.'s Patrol Storage Manager customers have a choice to make: eventually migrate to EMC Corp.'s ControlCenter software or start looking for a new storage resource management product.

EMC Corp., Hopkinton, Mass., announced Tuesday that it had acquired the rights to BMC Software's Patrol Storage Manager software and that Houston-based BMC will resell EMC's ControlCenter family of products as its storage resource management offering.

The move follows BMC's decision five months ago to pull out of the storage market.

The companies said they plan to integrate their lines of storage resource management software.

As part of the deal, EMC will provide maintenance, service and support to BMC's 50 Patrol Storage Manager customers. On the flip side, BMC will offer free software licenses for EMC ControlCenter in order to provide a migration or upgrade path from the discontinued Patrol Storage Manager product line.

BMC's director of marketing, Dan Hoffmann, stressed that current Patrol Storage Manager customers do not have to migrate to ControlCenter next week or next month, but that the process can be done over time with the assistance of both companies. He offered no specifics on when EMC would discontinue support.

"It's about giving EMC a broader market reach for our SRM solution and about helping BMC with their business services management solution," said Barry Ader, EMC's director of open software marketing.

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Nancy Marrone-Hurley, a senior analyst with Enterprise Storage Group Inc., in Milford, Mass., said that if BMC doesn't come up with a good transition and support plan for its storage customers, the company will be putting the rest of its business with those customers at risk, since most Patrol Storage Manager customers also own other BMC products.

"EMC wanted to convert BMC's customers to EMC ControlCenter, no doubt," she said. But she added that what EMC is really looking for is the exposure to BMC's other 5,500 customers. "They are looking for the joint sales agreement to get them into BMC accounts."

Overall, Marrone-Hurley said, this deal is positive for everyone involved. Customers get a storage management solution from a vendor that understands storage, as well as support from both companies during the transition, she said.

"BMC can wipe a lot of egg off their face by coming up with this strong of a partnership, and EMC gets exposure to all of BMC's customers," she said.

Randy Kerns, an analyst with the Evaluator Group Inc., Greenwood Village, Colo., said BMC wants to provide a transition for its customers and not leave them in the lurch. "There were several bidders, but BMC chose EMC. The two companies are very complementary," Kerns said.

In addition to new customers, EMC gets the source code and some development staff, as well as the support requirements.

"Whether EMC builds on the software and incorporates that technology into existing EMC software is unclear at this point," Kerns said. "It's a good move for both companies. They each get something."

Kerns said one might view this as more consolidation in the storage management software area.

Jamie Gruener, a senior analyst for the Yankee Group Inc., Boston, thinks the deal gives EMC some competitive clout.

"What was interesting about the announcement was that BMC retained the knowledge modules that were specific to each product set, which suggests EMC is focusing [on] the product as being integrated with ControlCenter," he said. "I think this, overall, gives EMC another weapon in its battle with Veritas, CA and Tivoli."

Last February, BMC pulled out of the storage market and stopped production on its storage area network (SAN) management tools altogether, a move that Hoffmann called a "tough choice."

He said that the people and budgets currently deployed to BMC's storage operation will be redeployed to other parts of BMC's business.

BMC's final storage management release, Patrol Storage Manager 2.2, has been on the market since January. At the time of the pullout, BMC said it would be "generous" with its support policies.

Let us know what you think about the story. E-mailKevin Komiega, News Writer

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