Tucci: EMC Ready to Roll with the IT Punches

Q&A: EMC CEO Joe Tucci says that the storage giant has redefined itself to meet the major shifts in enterprise computing.

With the rise of virtualization and Web services, EMC is out to both redefine enterprise computing and EMC.

In an interview with Michael Vizard, Ziff-Davis editorial director for the enterprise, and Brian Fonseca, senior editor for eWEEK, EMC chairman and CEO Joe Tucci said that the industry as whole is at the beginning stages of a major shift in the way IT approaches data, storage and application management.

Is the move towards virtualization and data management creating an inflection point in the way we need to think about EMC?

Youre absolutely right. If you walk into a data center, you can physically see the environment and I can say thats Exchange. Thats SAP (environment). Thats an IBM mainframe. Theyre stacks. All hard coded, all have server agents on them. Now thats new using the Web.

In the future, you will bind and unbind based on need. These things are all going to change and thats the inflection point you have to deal with. Things are becoming too complex. What you dont want to do is throw more money at what youre running.

In your mind, is EMC going to be, along with maybe IBM, the first company with a complete horizontal stack that ultimately changes the way we think about managing the vertical stacks that exist today.

I dont think thats far from wrong.

Are you going to become more of a competitor to Cisco, given the fact weve seen Cisco embed application level functionality into their platforms?

I dont know. I think theres a lot of opportunity for us to do things together. Theres also overlap. Its very tough for any company to do everything.


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If you can have partners that you trust, you have to basically say Im OK with doing that.

Are you both shopping for the same types of companies?

Well we both need them to make the side of our hooks stick. Theres a lot of stuff they do that we dont get into, though.

Given your investment in Documentum, how much interest at EMC is there in applications versus software infrastructure?

The company that would have to worry about us the least is SAP. I really want to stay focused on infrastructure and on the information concept. Im really interested in security and storage encryption. Thats an important play [for EMC].

Do you think this shift in enterprise computing will drive more consolidation?

Thats probably true. There are much fewer [companies] that are going after it. I think youre going to see massive consolidation. You need a massive balance sheet to do it. I think youll see IBM, Microsoft, Cisco, for sure are above the line. Then theres the next tier.

We want to make sure we get above the line. Its an interesting game of chess going on and I dont think that small-to-middle players will be there.

Youre competing against everybody on some level, what about Oracle?

Obviously [Oracle] is going for the stack, for Fusion and middleware. As far as EMC and Oracle, theres things worth doing which exclude database and applications. But then there are things with data and middleware that we would want too.

The marriage of security and storage by Symantec is a work in progress. What can we expect from EMC in that area and whats your take on Symantecs strategy?

Ive said it before. It was the perfect strategy but the totally wrong players. John Thompson [went for it] and they were absolutely right. But what assets does [Symantec] own? Backup to tape and anti-virus … the two extremes at the end of the spectrum and all the action will be in the middle.

As you continue to grow in software space, how do you reconcile all the brands that EMC has acquired over the last few years?

We dump them. Of any substance, the one acquisition we did was in October 2003 with Legato. [For most part] brands are dead. Documentum, VMWare ... those are staying brands. The one brand name well keep alive is VMWare.

Given all the players competing to own the next generation of enterprise computing, does that make you a dark horse in this race?

Im fine with being a dark horse. I like being underestimated.


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