Just about every IT vendor on the planet is investing heavily to tackle the "simplification" problem.
But there's never a silver bullet: simplification is usually in the eyes of the beholder.
I think EMC did a good job of recognizing this early, and rather than hand-waving at the problem, digging in deeper to understand specific roles and focused use cases where investing in simplification could be of great value.
Such is the case with the new version of the EMC Storage Integrator (ESI) for Windows environments -- how do you make IT infrastructure easier for someone who lives in a Microsoft-centric world?
ESI Is Not New
EMC has been creating no-cost management add-ons for different environments for quite a while. The goal is always the same: expose our capabilities seamlessly in the context that matters for the user.
As part of the flurry of activities at EMC World 2012, the team is demonstrating a new version of ESI -- one that goes far beyond previous versions in terms of functionality and breadth of support. The product itself is interesting; the thinking behind it even more so.
The Problem -- Lots Of Steps, Different Interfaces
In a Windows environment, it's not unusual to have to traverse six or more discrete displays to get something straightforward done, like provisioning storage for a virtualized Microsoft cluster.
Not only do more steps mean more work, there's more chance to make a mistake along the way.
Going deeper, many shops are moving towards converged administration roles vs. the typical hand-off from specialist to specialist.
Clearly, there's an opportunity to do things better.
Its look-and-feel is entirely Windows-based vs. EMC standard. It's reasonably agnostic to different flavors of EMC storage: VMAX, VNX, VNXe, CLARiiON et. al.
In this version, it's very smart about SharePoint, although it's getting smart about other Microsoft applications as well.
And -- here's the best part -- it's completely hypervisor-agnostic as well. It doesn't care if you're using VMware, Microsoft's Hyper-V capabilities, or Citrix Xen. Or any combination.
All it cares about is that you're using EMC storage, and you're using Microsoft Windows.
That's about it.
First, it was agent-less. No need to push a hunk of software on every server you own. A couple of IP addresses and the right credentials, and you're good to go.
Second, it really didn't care about your storage network: CIFS, SAN, or any combination. Win.
Third, all the provisioning tasks include a roll-back feature that returns the environment to a known state in the event your task didn't complete for one reason or another. I bet that's useful.
Fourth, the options around provisioning SharePoint were exceptionally robust and useful. I'm hoping they can bring that same robustness to SQLserver, Exchange et. al. before long.
And, of course, everything is available via 100+ Powershell cmdlets if that's your preference :)
If you're at EMC World, you can drop by a specific session where Giri and his team will be sharing their latest work, or catch the YouTube video here.
Title: Simplify the Management of Microsoft Applications Leveraging the ESI
Date: May 21st
Time: 2.30 to 3.30 pm
Room #: Delfino 4005
Author: Giri Basava
Understanding The Win
Yes, time is saved end-to-end.
But -- more importantly, there's no need for three distinct people to get involved anymore.
There's no awkward and clumsy handoffs between storage person, database admin and Sharepoint admin.
Not that anyone would ever be at lunch, or in a meeting, or busy doing something else :)
And -- for me -- that's an excellent example of these new converged workflow tools: giving people the ability to get the job done without being highly dependent on others.
Maybe it's not the most revolutionary software you've seen from EMC, but it certainly illustrates how we're thinking about things going forward :)