During his keynote presentation at EMC World, Joe Tucci discussed how Google disrupted the main revenue source of the newspaper industry through its “AdWords” service. Similar to this example, Amazon has leveraged the ubiquity of the online e-commerce market space to wrest away a huge chunk of market share from traditional retail organizations. By no small coincidence, both of these organizations also present a very real threat to the long-term hegemony of EMC’s core business – data storage technology. Consequently, this year’s theme at the EMC World show at the Venetian Hotel in Las Vegas was “Redefine”. Redefine your business and your IT organization to in effect, not be left behind by the sweeping technological changes taking place across every conceivable industry.
To reiterate from last year’s “Transformation” theme, Tucci pointed out that EMC continues to “Redefine” their position in the data storage industry by one, continuing with their Federated business strategy of loosely aligning with VMware and Pivotal to deliver next generation or 3rd platform (hybrid cloud) computing technologies and secondly, investing approximately $5B per year in research and development and strategic acquisitions. To underscore this point, he introduced the management team of their newly acquired flash storage startup, “DSSD”. While scant details were provided on the specific technological breakthroughs that DSSD was planning on bringing to flash storage, the mere credentials of their CEO, Andy Bechtolsheim, suggests that DSSD has the very real potential to be a game changing technology for in-memory flash database solutions for applications like big data analytics.
Similarly, on the R&D front, EMC used the bright stage and “flashy” showcase of their annual convention to trot out their new Elastic Cloud Storage (ECS) appliance. As my colleague, George Crump, discussed in his recent blog post, this seems to be something of an opening salvo by EMC to respond to the looming threat of major cloud service providers like Amazon and Google. If the initial interest by the EMC World show attendees is any indication of the potential upside in business revenue for ECS (many people were milling about the ECS exhibit area well after exhibit hours ended), this platform could be a huge revenue contributor for EMC while serving as a foil to Amazon and Google’s public cloud model.
Bridge to the Hybrid Cloud
The CEO of EMC’s II (Information Infrastructure) division, David Goulden, continued with the Redefine theme by outlining how technologies like the ECS appliance can be leveraged to enable businesses to non-disruptively migrate over time from 2nd generation client-server platforms to a hybrid cloud computing (3rd platform) infrastructure. EMC claims their strategy closely aligns with the feedback they have received from their clients of their desire to exploit the efficiencies of cloud storage while maintaining the security and control that private data center computing provides. Goulden and Jeremy Burton (EMC President of Products and Marketing) emphasized that businesses can follow EMC’s model and reinvest the savings realized through technologies like virtualization, to start investing in 3rd platform hybrid cloud infrastructure. The premise is that solutions like ECS can bridge the gap between the 2nd platform and the 3rd platform and in effect, make the business cloud transformation relatively seamless.
Storage Swiss Take
The public cloud computing industry continues to make impressive revenue gains year over year. In fact, Tucci pointed out during his keynote that about 20% of all industry computing went through public cloud infrastructure in 2013 and that it would double by the year 2020. Today, many businesses are using public cloud services tactically – like sending secondary or tertiary copies of backup and DR data into public cloud storage resources. But as public cloud solutions mature and as privacy and security issues become less of a concern, businesses may start to increasingly leverage the cloud to augment private data center compute and storage resources to increase efficiencies and to gain a competitive advantage.
EMC clearly wants to stay in front of this long-term trend by providing the capability, through both their Federated partnership and new technologies, to bridge the gap between what they call 2nd generation client-server infrastructure and 3rd generation hybrid cloud systems. In addition to end-user adoption, it will be interesting to see if the new ECS offering can be effectively leveraged by EMC’s managed service provider (MSP) partners to stave off the long-term threats posed by the Goliath CSP’s like Amazon, Google and Microsoft.
EMC is a client of Storage Switzerland