At EMC World 2014 in Las Vegas, EMC Cloud Strategy continued to take shape. EMC, at least at this point, wants to be the arms merchant to the cloud provider market, enabling cloud providers and large enterprises to either compete with or have a compelling alternative to Google and Amazon. Front and center of this strategy is EMC’s Elastic Cloud Storage (ECS), which essentially is ViPR 2.0 running on EMC supplied commodity hardware. Is this combination enough to lure regional providers and enterprises away from Google and Amazon?
What is Elastic Cloud Storage (ECS)?
There is still more to learn about ECS but based on the presentations we saw at EMC World and the hands-on lab that we worked through, ECS seems to deliver on its key objective; incredibly simple cloud storage. The object based storage system can deliver up to 2.9 PB of capacity per rack. EMC claims that customers with more than 5 PB of storage to manage should be able to realize a total cost of ownership that is as much as 24% less than what a public cloud provider can offer.
Will EMC’s Cloud Strategy Win?
In my opinion, EMC is clearly indicating that Google and Amazon are their primary adversaries over the next few years. The advantage that Google and Amazon have is they have taken that first step to cloud and it is relatively simple to consumer their offerings. But that first step is often a 100% cloud solution. As EMC correctly points out, most data centers want to take a more hybrid approach where part of the storage is in a public cloud and the other part is in a private cloud, secure in your data center. Building a hybrid cloud storage solution typically brings some level of complexity as you build, configure and operate the private side of that solution.
ECS, thanks to its turnkey nature, simplifies how providers and large enterprises build the private part of their hybrid solution.
Storage Swiss Take
ECS is a compelling alternative to a hybrid approach with Google and Amazon that would require multiple vendors in order to create something similar. Of course, Amazon and Google are not going to just lay down and give up, both are working hard with partners to create similar turnkey experiences and are continuing to be aggressive with their pricing.
If EMC stays the course with enabling providers and large enterprises to create their own cloud storage solutions, EMC is going to have to address the biggest weaknesses in those data centers: the lack of skills in building, operating and even offering cloud services. ECS is a nice start, but EMC needs to provide basic training and best practice runbooks that effectively and efficiently teach these organizations what Google and Amazon already know; the technical parts and more importantly the business components of offering cloud storage.
EMC is a client of Storage Switzerland