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By eweek  |  Posted 2004-06-21 Print this article Print

The biggest data management problem that a lot of companies have is with unstructured data. They want to get a handle on it and put it into a regulatory framework as well. Another problem is, How do you add security layers into the whole data management process? What is EMC doing in these areas?

We do it several ways today. Theres zoning ... and saying only that server or piece of that server can get that data. Its really a server function. The thing with storage is, youre working so fast, speed is so important. You tend to want to do that on the other side. But what I think we can do is when we [remotely replicate] data from here to, say, New Jersey, you may want that encrypted. We work with companies and third-party players to encrypt it while its going over the wire.

What are the limits of your agreements with Dell Inc.? Do you continue to develop low-end devices? Do you also push up into the higher end with Dell? Where are the borders?

There are no borders, really. Basically, its a matter of practicality in who does what best. Primarily now, with the CX300 and AX100 [storage arrays] and the follow-ons and offshoots of those products, weve probably covered a huge piece of Dells needs.

On the other side, when you get into big machines, youre going inside the data center, the way your servers change control, now youre getting into EMCs territory. Everything keeps getting redefined. The [management software] were talking about today is incredibly complex because its not just putting in the array, its putting in everything else. You put an array in, now youve got to replicate, you have to back up, you have to manage. ... Thats why were building out that big services organization.

A typical [data] life-cycle model goes through early childhood to early adolescence, maturity, old age, rapid decline, death. Where Dell likes to get [customers] is probably a little past adolescence. Like Dell today is one of the only companies out there without a tablet on the market. Its too early. They dont want to do all the R&D [research and development] and all that engineering. What they want to be able to do is say, "When these things mature, well take them to market."

A few years ago, there was a point of view that for EMC to dent the small and midsize business customer market it would need Dell. Now with the recent announcement of the NetWin network-attached storage device, it seems EMC is doing OK on its own. Its really interesting. Dell accounts for one-third of our business. All the other partners combined account for one-third, and we do about one-third ourselves. But the one-third we do ourselves is a very different kind of sell. Thats where youll have a big chain of something that has a lot of remote offices that are still doing the central buy. We can service them like a large account, [provide] incremental storage units. We dont have a way of getting to the small business. … The local K-12 school we dont reach. The big university, sure. Its the same thing with small legal firms, small professional services firms. [Smaller companies] are doing all the growing. Big companies havent created employment in forever. So [the Dell partnership] is great for us; Dell is still the biggest [partner] by far. Its a third by itself and all the others together equal Dell, which is good balance. But [EMC itself sells] mostly fewer [but] bigger things. So to get one [big] CX700 [array] you have to sell 20 AX100s or something like that? Our guys are out selling the one CX700 for $150,000, [while] Dells off selling 30 AX100s at 5K each. Theyre both $150,000 but a very different sell. While our dollar buy-in is the same, the product unit is not even close to being the same. So Dell is very important to us. Its unusual for a CEO these days to make a real projection in front of security analysts with real numbers attached. There is so much ducking going on—its refreshing to see someone put up a real number.

Youre right, its either bold or stupid. Its really interesting. They want full disclosure, they want you to give good insight but they still want you to beat it. Well, if Im telling you everything, how am I going to beat it? Im telling you where I am. The best way to beat it is to pull back. So we decided to lay it out and well see what happens. The opportunity is there. It absolutely is. But weve got to do a lot of work. Thats not a layup. But again, nobody is saying [that reaching our financial targets is] absolutely undoable because everybody knows you can do a lot more in the fourth quarter than you can do in any other quarter, and Q1 tends to be the smallest quarter of the year. It will be interesting to see the results. Check out eWEEK.coms Storage Center at for the latest news, reviews and analysis on enterprise and business storage hardware and software.

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