EMC CEO: Storages New Strategy

Q&A: EMC CEO Joe Tucci says that the storage company is broadening its goals to focus on improving data security and, eventually, virtualization.

As the data being collected and stored across enterprises becomes more critical and complex, EMC Corp. is looking at new security, resource management and storage virtualization capabilities as key elements of a strategy to corral storage functionality.

Joe Tucci, CEO of EMC, of Hopkinton, Mass., plans to take advantage of the changing storage landscape. He foresees his company growing by 17 percent this year to $9.6 billion in revenues. Next year, he expects the number to climb to $11 billion.

Recently, Tucci sat down with eWEEK Senior Writer Brian Fonseca to discuss EMCs new security mantra, why Symantec Corp. is not a threat despite its acquisition of Veritas Software Corp. and why storage virtualization is too nascent for adoption.

Why is security such a natural fit for EMC, and what steps will you take to deliver security technology?

What do [customers] want to protect? Every piece of security is only protecting one thing—information. There are things we need to do and things customers are demanding that we do, and weve said well form some partnerships to do that. We have a lot already that we just never really exposed, and we have other products that we can repurpose. We have to [put pressure] on ourselves.

If were going to make a product, we should make sure that it works to the highest levels of prevention against any kind of computer threat and certify that for a customer. When we make a disk tray and it has customer data on it, how is that customer assured that that data is not going anywhere? Of course [some customers] want data encrypted—some want it encrypted online, some want it encrypted only when it goes to tape, some want it encrypted only when its moved. We have the software that does that movement, so to put that on as a feature is relatively easy.

This isnt an option for me. Customers are going to demand it. You either do it or youre going to fall behind.

Does Symantecs purchase of Veritas make it a serious competitor?

Lets face it, Symantec can say anything they want, but theyre anti-virus, thats what they do. They bought Veritas and then they put these two things together, but they dont go together. I mean, they can go together for very low-end platforms, but they have to fill out the middle. They have to introduce new characters. They have to integrate Veritas. But I do think they think they have it right: Information and security are going to be in demand.

Does EMCs emphasis on resource management clash against larger systems management vendors?

One of the reasons we bought Smarts was to get that technology into our ILM [information lifecycle management] stack and Control Center [product]. The day we bought it we were in a different market.

/zimages/3/28571.gifClick here to read about analysts reaction to EMCs acquisition of Smarts.

We certainly werent going to buy a key asset like that ... and all of a sudden abandon the market, much like VMware [Inc.]. By the way, both of them are going to help accelerate the ILM market. [However,] were not going to take on Tivoli and Unicenter, but we think we can do OK there.

How do you respond to criticism that EMC lost ground on its storage competitors due to delays behind your storage virtualization product Invista?

/zimages/3/28571.gifRead more here about Invista.

First of all, our competitors are lying to you. Absolutely lying. What theyre doing is theyre putting in an extra layer. In Hitachi [Ltd.]s case, theyre putting a layer above the array. In IBMs case, theyre putting a specialized server above the array. And what they do is they snap up all the storage functions. They do all the placement, theyre doing snaps, so you lock yourself in.

Yeah, you can buy two or three different kinds of J-Bots, but big deal. Thats not what customers are spending money on. What were doing is saying you have a Cisco [Systems Inc.] switch, you have a Brocade [Communications Systems Inc.] switch in your environment, your directors are intelligent, we can load those intelligent ASICs [application-specific integrated circuits] that are in these things, and they crack the packet at the speed of the network.

IBM says they have 1,400 SVCs [storage area network Volume Controllers] out there. I can give you a list longer than your arm that customers say, "Yeah, I got it, it showed up. I bought 10 Sharks and 5 Sharks, and SVC came with it." Now, how many customers paid for it and are getting super value out of it in an IBM environment? I mean, come on. No company in 2005 will get substantial revenue from storage virtualization. Not us, IBM, not HP, nobody. So were not late; this markets not there yet. And when the market does get there, I think the network virtualization has benefits to that.

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