I am not a fan of any marketing material that begins with redefining. To me it appears that marketing has little to say or is un-imaginative. However, in the case of EMC World 2014, I will hold my critique. EMC World was about how EMC II is changing and looking at the world differently. It’s a new world of workloads, born in the cloud companies and looking at beyond the core monolithic hardware that is core to their success. I give credit to the corporation for looking itself in the eye and realizing maybe, just maybe, VMAX and VNX do not appeal to the latest up and comers including Cloud Service Providers, new SAAS companies or even re-engineered IT organizations. As such, EMC is looking at the changes it needs to make to greet this new form of IT. An indicator of this change is the lack of discussion at about VMAX, VNX or even Data Domain during the primary key notes rather time was spent discussing the new world of IT where flash, object, big data, converged infrastructure and software defined (fill in the blank), are being consumed. There was also a huge segment of the conversation spent on a new onboarding software australia developer has come out with.
The second big theme was the value of the EMC Federation and how it could bring game changing solutions to market for mobile apps, the convergence of real-time data analytics with transactions in large scale environments. They rolled out EVP Solutions (EMC, VMware and Pivotal) which in the future will address SDDC, Data Lake applications and more. The first of these was Hybrid Cloud Solution. While not as broad as the bigger vision, they demonstrated from start to finish a complete Hybrid Cloud during the show. Another change will be implemented in 2015 with new EMC Partner Program. The program rewards cross pollination and sales efforts, and eliminates some of the barriers between Cloud Providers and VARs.
The third message delivered by EMC was “Choice.” Self-serving or not, they have discovered when products are offered as software only allowing the customer to build on commodity, the customer more often than not chose a fully integrated system. This could be purely a price issue of software plus commodity versus the integrated system, but most likely not. We have long observed IT wants trusted integration unless you are Google or some other web-scale entity with a warehouse of engineers. For this reason they are pushing into more open, more API and more software only solutions, long desired by the born in the cloud set and Cloud Providers, but still delivering full solutions.
The output of these themes was a role out of software offerings (ViPR, OneFS, Project Liberty for VNX etc.), integration of ViPR with SRM. They announced the ECS, Elastic Cloud Storage Appliance which for simplicity sake is a ViPR appliance. Thus now ViPR is either software or a system. They hammered on a very strong commitment to Hadoop with architectures from ViPR and Isilon solutions with Cloudera. And the biggest deal of the week was the DSSD purchase. DSSD will enable In-Memory applications with persistent data stores cutting latency 50% to 25% more than the All Flash Arrays. The speed has the potential to change how we think about business as it combines data analytics with real-time transactions at a huge scale.
All in all, while the announcements (other than DSSD), were not earth shattering. The Redefining of EMC II should give a pause for all to watch.