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EMC's Own Not-So-Little World

After last night's party, which featured the Goo Goo Dolls, EMC World is in full swing. The morning keynotes said about what you'd expect them to say, talking about the huge growth in stored data and all the value that can be gotten from that data. Then, of course, there was a lot of talk about new products. And while I guess I shouldn't have been surprised, I was disappointed to hear almost nothing about interoperability or standards.
After last night's party, which featured the Goo Goo Dolls, EMC World is in full swing. The morning keynotes said about what you'd expect them to say, talking about the huge growth in stored data and all the value that can be gotten from that data. Then, of course, there was a lot of talk about new products. And while I guess I shouldn't have been surprised, I was disappointed to hear almost nothing about interoperability or standards.The keynotes started with Joe Tucci speaking about the growth of his company along with the growth stored data and the increasing challenges to keeping that data safe and available. I wasn't expecting Tucci to get into product specifics, and in that respect, he didn't disappoint. The one eyebrow-raiser in his talk was a mention of a new cloud computing initiative which he "wanted to mention, but wouldn't say too much about..." OK... so we get it. You know about the cloud buzz and are trying to figure out how to make some money on it.

Following Tucci was Howard Elias, who runs EMC's management software division. Elias talked mostly about how EMC was working to manage virtualization of both storage and servers. He spoke about upgrades to both Smarts and Control Center. But particularly as it pertained to Control Center, the talk was almost strictly about how EMC managed EMC products. So much so that at one point Elias used the word heterogeneous to refer to managing two different EMC product lines from the same management tool.

What's clear about EMC from these keynotes is that the company intends to continue its conservative ways, particularly for its storage products. The day's third keynote came from Dave Donatelli, who runs the storage group within EMC. Donatelli's group accounts for more than $10B of EMC's nearly $14B annual income, and continues to grow more quickly than the overall storage market. So why not be conservative? But features he talked about as "new" requests from customers included such things as data deduplication and thin provisioning, both of which have been offered by other vendors for years now. Of course, both features could also slow the rate at which customers might need to purchase storage, so it's not too surprising that EMC is taking a conservative approach to both.

While other storage vendors have been a bit quicker to adopt some new features for their storage systems, few are any better than EMC on standards. This is an industry of partnerships (as can be observed by the sea of Brocade shirts here at EMC World). So while EMC can better manage EMC (and partner's) stuff, it doesn't appear that heterogeneous storage management is anything approaching a priority for the storage giant.

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