EMC World 2014 – Initial ESG Analyst Impressions (Video)

EMC World has always been a cornerstone event for the storage industry; driven roughly equally by EMC’s leadership position in the market and by its strong marketing abilities. At this year’s event (held last week in Vegas) there was an important new wind of change as the storage focus was noticeably expanded with EMC trading its customary [and sometimes over-stretched] thematic emphases of prior years for a fresh look at IT market and user directions and where the “Federation” (that is traditional EMC, plus VMware, Pivotal, and RSA) intends to play.

As usual ESG had a strong analyst representation at the event. You can click below to watch a 6 minute video blog, and not only get a flavor of the event itself but also hear the key “takeaways” and initial high level insights from a broad spectrum of ESG analysts – on the storage ‘beat,’ there’s Terri McClure and myself, for data protection there is Jason Buffington, together with Kevin Rhone (channels/partners) and Kerry Dolan (ESG Lab).

You can imagine that there’s an enormous amount of content to digest and material announcements to cover. I for one will have further detailed analysis of what happened (in my case specifically in the world of mainstream storage, solid-state, software-definition and so on) in another more-product and strategy oriented blog later this week; for now we all hope that our immediate thoughts – captured live and unfiltered at the event itself – provide a useful insight into some of the headlines, both for those that could not attend and for those that are still getting to grips with the deluge of EMC’s news and intentions.

Video Transcript

Mark: So, welcome to EMC World 2014. One of the problems with events like this is you can get a bit comfortable and you can start looking at things, through the vendors eyes. So, I'm here with my ESG colleagues as usual. We're going to try and get a little less vendor comfortable, a little less focused on things through their vision and give you some of the key takeaways from this year's conference.

Terri: These past couple of days at EMC World has been a fire hose of information thrown at us. But what's been fun for me is that as somebody who covers the file and unstructured data market, I've just had a ball because of all of the announcements EMC has made this week and all the insights that we get around the file and unstructured data market. Some of the more notable things that we've covered today, you'll see I'm here in front of this Syncplicity booth, is this Syncplicity enhancements that now connect it to Sharepoint, that connect it to Documentum, that connect it to ECM system so that now Syncplicity can extent the existing infrastructure investments to support the newly mobile workforce. So Syncplicity... it's been fun to watch Syncplicity evolve over the last year and a half and the new mobile clients look great and now they're helping plug into the enterprise a little tighter. The other thing that really stands out is the tight integration with Isilon and some of the momentum that they're getting with the Isilon Syncplicity integrated solutions, because, as we've seen in our research, there's a huge pent-up demand for on-premises or hybrid type online file sharing collaboration solutions.

Jason: In the ancient world they used to say that all roads lead to Rome. At EMC World 2014, it turns out all data protection paths seem to lead to Data Domain. More and more often, what we're seeing is the production workloads are actually driving the decision process around data protection modernization or the redefine that EMC wants to talk about today. We're seeing the Oracle and Sequel DBAs. We're seeing the virtualization admins and the number of workloads are going to keep on growing from that perspective. That's what's driving data protection modernization. That's what's driving all the new feature sets EMC is talking about and it ought to make for a really interesting 2014, is the number of roads leading to Rome gets even broader.

Mark: There were all sorts of announcements from EMC. There was a lot of progress in Flash. There was the acquisition of DSSD, which right now, all we know is it's a palindrome, but rack-scale flash is what EMC called it. Just before the show here started there were updates to VNX, with VNX 2 and Project Liberty, which is a software only version of VNX which is testimony to where EMC is going in the future.

Kerry: One of the key announcements at EMC world this year is version 2.0 of ViPR, EMC's software defined storage platform. This version adds some significant meat on the bone in terms of features including support for commodity hardware and additional array support through OpenStack. But one of the key features I think is that ViPR now offers block data services in addition to Object and HDFS. It gives you block data services through ScaleIO, a technology that EMC acquired a year ago. ScaleIO leverages internal server based storage to create a scalable virtual SAN.

Kevin: Greetings from the Global Partner Conference. As part of EMC World 2014, where over 200 of EMC's top partners had convened from around the world. The big news from this year's conference is the announcement of the new EMC Business Partner Program, replacing the retired Velocity program at the end of this year. It's a completely re-designed program from the ground up, that for the first time is one common framework across all of their partner types and it also reflects the more solutions oriented sales processes that they're involved in and the leveraging capabilities of EMC's federation of companies. We had the opportunity to talk to several partners, from North America, EMEA and APJ and the reactions were uniformly very positive. They really loved the fact that the rebate program has been completely restructured and the opportunities to make short term margins have been enhanced. And in the long term, they're very much planning on restructuring their businesses around the solution selling aspect and also creating links into companies like VMware and Pivotal.

Mark: Well, I mentioned earlier that I wanted to refer back to the Hybrid Cloud and if there's one message that was resounding and repeated many times, it is that that's the future. In other words, people will be able using EMC products and services, to choose where and how they want to run their applications and EMC will be capable of doing that. Now that comes with a whole host of challenges for the company as well as the obvious opportunity. The challenge is that they have to keep doing what they're doing right now and serve the business they've got, the revenue, the margin that that generates, at the same time as building the new flow, the new products and the new approaches to the market that they're going to need to have to be successful. And so while Hybrid Cloud was the message that was used from a marketing perspective here, the other word here "redefined" applies as much to the company itself as to the market and the customers. And so I would say, if it's not stretching the semantics too much, what we're going to see over the coming years is not just the Hybrid Cloud, but a Hybrid EMC.

Topics: Storage IT Infrastructure Data Protection