EMC, Dell Getting Ready for a Software-Defined Future

By Scot Petersen  |  Posted 2016-05-08 Print this article Print
Software Defined Dell

EMC's customers say much the same thing with respect to EMC hardware accelerating business outcomes—companies such as Lids with Vblock converged systems, CMA Consulting Services with DSSD D5 flash systems and the Hollard Insurance Group with XtremIO flash systems.

Fortunately for EMC, it also has strong stories around software, open source and the cloud, with the added refrain that it all works better together on EMC hardware (despite the fact that EMC is building on the same Intel Haswell processors, solid-state drives and PCIe drive interfaces as the so-called white-box vendors are).

But one of the new products rolled out last week, the Unity storage system, is a sign of where EMC is headed. It is a hybrid in more ways than one. It can run as an all-flash array or with a mix of flash and traditional hard drives. It can also run as software-only on your own white-box array or in a cloud environment, as well as an EMC Unity box.

EMC also is making a lot of progress around open source and its new EMC {code} division. It was recently announced that one of the first {code} efforts, REX-Ray, has been integrated with Mesosphere's DC/OS 1.7. REX-Ray allows Docker containers to link up with external block storage systems in AWS, OpenStack, and EMC's Isilon, ScaleIO, XtremIO and VMAX systems.

In some ways I can see why Michael Dell is so excited. Technology is more advanced than ever, while EMC and its customers are seeing now how much of a game-changer software is. But at the same time, I see the gleaming blue boxes in which EMC packages its arrays and can't help but think they are a throwback to an earlier era.

Interestingly, both conferences had '80s-themed parties on Wednesday night, with former glam rockers Duran Duran performing at the EMC party. They were an inspired choice. For those who like strange coincidences, Duran Duran released its first album, Planet Earth, within weeks of IBM shipping its first PC in the summer of 1981, which is the last time enterprise computing got turned on its head like this.

Scot Petersen is a technology analyst at Ziff Brothers Investments, a private investment firm. He has an extensive background in the technology field. Prior to joining Ziff Brothers, Scot was the editorial director, Business Applications & Architecture, at TechTarget. Before that, he was the director, Editorial Operations, at Ziff Davis Enterprise. While at Ziff Davis Media, he was a writer and editor at eWEEK. No investment advice is offered in his blog. All duties are disclaimed. Scot works for a private investment firm, which may at any time invest in companies whose products are discussed in this blog, and no disclosure of securities transactions will be made.



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