Eleven Things You Didn't Know About the World's Largest External Disk Storage Company

By Chris Preimesberger  |  Posted 2008-10-08 Print this article Print

EMC didn't get to be the world's largest, most successful data storage company by standing pat. In fact, the huge corporation has swallowed no fewer than 40 other companies -- for their technology and their talent -- in the last five years. Here are some facts you probably didn't know about this remarkable organization.

1. How EMC was born

On Aug. 23, 1979, EMC was born in Richard Egan's Newton, Mass. home. To raise money for their future business, Egan and Roger Marino (the "E" and "M" in EMC) began working as product reps selling a special desk specifically designed for computer users. Sales of the desk eventually funded development of EMC's first product - an add-on memory board for Prime minicomputers.

2. RSA's pervasiveness

RSA, the security division of EMC, has security technology so pervasive that it protects more than 150 million identities and billions of transactions annually.  The RSA logo signifying the integration of its BSAFE algorithm can be found on everything from Sony PSPs to cell phones, and the algorithm is embedded in everything from AMD processors to Oracle's database software.

3. Iomega's consumer role

At the time of its acquisition by EMC earlier this year, Iomega was one of the world's largest providers of direct attached hard drives; its networked storage drives provide primary and backup storage for SOHO customers worldwide.

EMC's Iomega division offers products to millions of consumers and small businesses worldwide. In the living room, Iomega's multimedia products provide added storage capacity for digital video recorders (DVRs), as well as game consoles such as Microsoft Xbox 360 and Sony PlayStation 3. 

4. EMC's first cloud storage business

The Mozy online data backup division, acquired in 2007, remotely backs up information from more than 850,000 (and counting) servers, laptops, and desktops. Its online consumer backup service features unlimited capacity and the Mozy business service protects data at corporate behemoth GE (more than 300,000 seats) and 20,000-plus other businesses of all sizes.

5. EMC and Wall Street

In explaining how Wall Street was able to resume operations so quickly after the devastating terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, Barron's called EMC's SRDF (Symmetrix Remote Data Facility) remote mirroring software "the technology hero of 9/11."

6. EMC's Information Heritage Initiative

This was formalized in 2007 to help preserve and protect humanity's information heritage. EMC has donated more than $20 million to date to information heritage preservation projects at organizations such as the Smithsonian Institution, the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum and the Herzogin Anna Amalia Library, among many others.

7. EMC, Motorola and satellites

Motorola originally licensed EMC's Smarts network and data center management software to manage the Iridium network, which consists of 66 active communication satellites. The system was created to enable worldwide voice and data communications using handheld satellite phones. Smarts provided the correlation system to handle the large real-time event stream required to automate problem diagnosis across their network.

8. EMC as movie star

EM's Clariion and Symmetrix systems made cameo appearances on the sets of Hollywood action films due out this Fall including "Body of Lies," a post-9/11 thriller starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Russell Crowe as CIA agents. Symmetrix was also used on the set of Steven Spielberg's "Eagle Eye," starring Shia LaBeouf, Billy Bob Thornton and Rosario Dawson.

9. EMC "University"

EMC's Academic Alliance program launched in 2006 has enrolled more than 225 universities and colleges across 14 countries: Australia, Brazil, China, Colombia, Germany, India, Ireland, Mexico, Russia, Philippines, Scotland, Singapore, Ireland, and the United States.

Currently, more than 5,000 students have taken, are enrolled in, or are registered for the Storage Technology Foundations (Information Storage and Management) curriculum.

10. Documentum and the life sciences

Founded in 1990 with a focus on the pharmaceutical industry, EMC's Documentum enterprise content management software -- acquired in 2003 -- is today deployed by 19 of the Top 20 life sciences companies around the world to manage billions of electronic document pages used in drug trials and bringing new therapeutics to market.

In fact, one early idea by Documentum founder Howard Shao was to help the medical industry find a cure for cancer. As far as we know, he's still working on it.

11. Joe Tucci and Tony Soprano

Contrary to conventional thought, it is not true that the EMC President/CEO is the older, gentler brother of the fictional patriarch of HBO's hit television series.

Chris Preimesberger Chris Preimesberger was named Editor-in-Chief of Features & Analysis at eWEEK in November 2011. Previously he served eWEEK as Senior Writer, covering a range of IT sectors that include data center systems, cloud computing, storage, virtualization, green IT, e-discovery and IT governance. His blog, Storage Station, is considered a go-to information source. Chris won a national Folio Award for magazine writing in November 2011 for a cover story on Salesforce.com and CEO-founder Marc Benioff, and he has served as a judge for the SIIA Codie Awards since 2005. In previous IT journalism, Chris was a founding editor of both IT Manager's Journal and DevX.com and was managing editor of Software Development magazine. His diverse resume also includes: sportswriter for the Los Angeles Daily News, covering NCAA and NBA basketball, television critic for the Palo Alto Times Tribune, and Sports Information Director at Stanford University. He has served as a correspondent for The Associated Press, covering Stanford and NCAA tournament basketball, since 1983. He has covered a number of major events, including the 1984 Democratic National Convention, a Presidential press conference at the White House in 1993, the Emmy Awards (three times), two Rose Bowls, the Fiesta Bowl, several NCAA men's and women's basketball tournaments, a Formula One Grand Prix auto race, a heavyweight boxing championship bout (Ali vs. Spinks, 1978), and the 1985 Super Bowl. A 1975 graduate of Pepperdine University in Malibu, Calif., Chris has won more than a dozen regional and national awards for his work. He and his wife, Rebecca, have four children and reside in Redwood City, Calif.Follow on Twitter: editingwhiz

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