EMC, Samsung Launch Major Products From Europe via Webcast

NEWS ANALYSIS: It was a tale of two European cities on Sept. 4 as Samsung introduced its eagerly awaited Galaxy Gear Smartwatch in Berlin while EMS rolled out storage products in Milan.

One event was in Milan and featured a product no consumer will ever see, but all will experience. The second was in Berlin and featured a family of consumer products, which are a primary reason the PC industry is racing toward a brick wall. One city has great food; the other has great beer. I was attending neither, but watched the events via live Web stream.

EMC was in Milan with the goal of tying in the excitement of F1 racing with a new—actually updated—storage family and a range of additional storage products and services. EMC has a comfortable lead in storage, but unlike a certain operating system company in Redmond, Wash., does a good job at regularly recharging its products to stay abreast with technology developments.

The big news in storage is the rise of flash-based, solid state storage, storage as a cloud-based service, an ever-increasing variety and volume of stored data, and the need to make the data residing in the storage infrastructure secure and rapidly accessible.

The company has not strayed too far from its storage focus, but instead hives off new companies to address high growth areas including virtualization (VMware) and platform as a service (Pivotal). That hiving strategy may be a good idea for Redmond to also take a closer look.

The EMC event included a new midrange VNX upgrade designed to take advantage of flash and multi-core processors, an announcement that the ViPR software-defined storage platform encompassing a variety of data types and services would be ready earlier than expected. The company also showed its public cloud-like, but private cloud secure Project Nile, which is designed to provide rapid storage deployment.

In all, EMC continued to provide a counterbalance to both the rise of public cloud storage and open source-based hybrid storage capabilities. Storage is one of those products consumers don't see but have frequent interactions. CIOs tend to focus on business applications, but they are aware storage provides the data upon which those applications depend.

The Samsung event was held at the IFA show in Berlin. A consumer electronics show in September makes more sense than one in January. IFA is rising in prominence as the place where product introductions will get noticed unlike the overwhelming product noise associated with the Las Vegas Consumer Electronics Show.

Samsung introduced three products: a smartphone, a tablet and its first smartwatch. The watch, the Galaxy Gear reported to be priced at $299 when it goes on sale later this month, received the most attention. The advent of wearable devices has been much forecast, but only now are the products being introduced.