Storage giant leaves Compaq and IBM behind... it hopesEMC is moving away from its hardware heritage and will attack the growing market for storage software in a move it hopes will leave Compaq, Hitachi and IBM trailing in its wake. EMC unveiled four pieces of storage management software today, which can all work on rivals' hardware, such as IBM's and Hitachi's. The move was billed as 'significant' by the industry as EMC has been previously focused on sales of its software running on its own hardware. Jim Rothnie, CTO of EMC, said: "We have developed these four pieces of software to make storage as easy to manage as possible. Storage management technology has been such a mess for too long, so it's time somebody cleaned it up. Our AutoIS can automate most storage processes and minimise the risk of human error." Analysts said EMC has clearly identified its growth area, but warned the company was going up against tough competition. Claus Egge, storage analyst from IDC, said the news has been long awaited in the storage industry. "EMC has been brewing up this announcement for quite some time so it's obvious they have identified their growth area. It is too early to say how the rivals will react but we can speculate that the competition will increase amongst the existing players," he said. But Meta Group analyst Sean Derrington disagreed and insisted EMC is well ahead of its competition when it comes to technology. He said: "All the other storage companies are standing still. It will take nine months or so for the likes of Hitachi, IBM and Compaq to catch up." EMC unveiled WideSky middleware, which allows storage devices to interact across different hardware, ControlCenter management software, technology which lets the devices to be managed from a different hardware platform, StorageScope, a storage reporting tool, which allows information collection across different pieces of hardware and Replication Manager, software which simplifies disk-based data replication. All of these are part of EMC's AutoIS storage platform.