EMC World 2012: The Galactic Edge - Page 2

To do something like this successfully and have it scale across business types, the winning company must realize that one size does not fit all and it must focus tightly on both industry verticals (for best practices) and the unique needs of each client company. In this world, EMC is arguing that its customer-focused strategy is to provide the right technology for each individual customer.


Dynamic Security

In a world where everyone is connecting all the time, the risk of identity theft is through the roof and so are the costs - both individual and corporate. Attacks are dynamic and personalized and security must be equally dynamic, both expanding massively in detection capability and dynamically altering itself based on the perceived risks to assure that attackers are forced to attack non-EMC clients because they are more cost-effective criminal targets.


Pat Gelsinger: the StarShip EMC

As the video led into Pat's talk, the space theme continued. The virtual ship dodged the IBM Borg Collective, the Apple Singularity, and ended up with Pat sitting in Captain Kirk's chair from the original Star Trek. Pat's talk started by pointing out how virtualization has allowed customers to break out of proprietary frameworks and gain the freedom to run a variety of solutions, and rather than optimizing a proprietary vendor's income, optimize on the customer's budget and unique needs.

To showcase this, they used a control panel that provided the dynamic management of a large SAP application. The control panel was intuitive and what made it powerful was that when you made a major change, the related policy transferred with the change so that provisioning would not only be quick, it would also automatically remain compliant with related policies. To showcase speed, they referred to the VISA case where VISA's massive mobile banking application was deployed in an amazing 3 months - a time nearly impossibly fast given the massive size of the solution.

As you would expect from a storage company, Pat is arguing that data is the new center of the digital universe and cloud computing is largely about acquiring, managing, storing and analyzing this data. To highlight this, Pat launched 42 new products from stage, exceeding the prior record by one. At the high end EMC showcased the Symmetrix VMAX, which doubled in size and has significant customer-driven enhancements for performance and ease of use. Isilon improvements included a 50 percent drop in latency. SyncIQ has significant improvements in failover, restore, and because of the increased enterprise risks, security.

He dropped into an analytics demonstration using Greenplum Chorus, which managed the question and helped manage the answer using a massive data repository. In the middle, they blew up and sounded like an explosion (the explosion damn near knocked me out of my chair - no more front rows for me for a a while - my ears are still ringing). Example customers were eBay and China Telecom.

VNX has crossed the 9.5 petabytes in managed capacity and an expansion of the line with significant speed enhancements with aggressive use of flash. It used a hybrid approach with both internal and external options to better balance costs to performance increases. He hinted at Project X, the code name for next year's total flash, ultra-high-speed solution. EMC plans to be the Baskin Robbins of flash with every flavor for every customer.

Pat highlighted that they have a 7X lead of the next nearest competitor in backup market share. Data Domain and Avamar have up to 3x the backup speed and a whopping 30x improvement in recovery. (I used to work for IBM storage and back then we used to joke that everyone focused on backup and no-one on recovery, which should have been the stronger metric - that clearly has been fixed.) Cloud customer LinkedIn was highlighted as the showcase customer.

Gelsinger, who is an ex-Intel executive, highlighted the EMC partnership with Intel, with VPLEX and one of the very first platforms to use Intel's recently announced Ivy Bridge platform. VPLEX, like its VCE offering, is more about partnerships than technology, and is the only product in its class that is designed against requirements set by EMC channel partners, much like VCE is a unique partnership between EMC, Cisco, VMware and Intel.

Gelsinger closed by saying that when he met with customers after coming to EMC, they told him EMC's management products sucked. This became his personal problem to solve and DataBridge was used as the example for the progress that has been made in this area. Based on the audience response he apparently hit this one out of the park.


Wrapping Up: EMC Squared

EMC showcased some impressive improvements, which isn't that unique in a show like this because every vendor showcases their significant improvements. However, with each announcement there was a showcased customer that apparently helped drive it. That is unique, and where EMC stands out is it weaves customer needs into every improvement and product.

I was sitting next to Pat in the front row of the audience and was reminded why he is one of my favorite executives (I've known him for over well over a decade). He brings passion, excitement and energy to events like this and it is always a personal pleasure to see him at things like this. Despite his position, he is approachable and I'm honored to have known him for all this time. Joe Tucci, Pat's boss, is one of the most beloved CEO's in the industry and I can't think of a better paring.

However, EMC's competitive edge isn't its products or its people, it is its unique focus on driving the company to listen at all levels to its customers. In this, it is unmatched and it is Joe, Pat and Jim Bampos (the guy who heads this effort) that drive this unique and powerful advantage.

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