EMC Corp., as part of its ongoing efforts to rely less on proprietary storage hardware for corporate revenue, will announce an out-of-band virtualization appliance Oct. 29 at an event in New York City, sources told eWEEK.
The new product from the Hopkinton, Mass., company is the primary component of its Automatic Information Storage (AutoIS) initiative, EMCs marketing name for virtualization that was introduced by Chief Technology Officer Jim Rothnie at an analyst event in August.
According to sources, by being out-of-band, the product can help eliminate data bottlenecks. "Out-of-band" means that the appliance will merely control data, and not actually have any data flowing through it.
But despite the advantage of eliminating bottlenecks, EMC is likely to position the appliance as anything but virtualization—the word has a negative connotation among storage vendors, as it indicates that the hardware is being commoditized, sources said.
EMC officials declined to comment.
Except for the bottleneck issue, the product does not appear to be unique, and its clearly being marketed to protect EMCs storage hardware base, a source familiar with the announcement said.
EMC is late to the virtualization game—similar technology is already offered by its main hardware rivals, such as IBM and Hitachi Ltd.s Hitachi Data Systems, as well as from numerous hardware-agnostic software vendors. Virtualization essentially is a way of pooling storage hardware of different types from varying vendors so they can be centrally managed, or as in a single partition.
"Theyre thinking themselves into the box," one source said.
"They are still a paranoid bunch of guys that dont want to give anything to anyone. The pressures on from all directions," an industry analyst said.
The news will come on the heels of EMCs third quarter earnings report, due on Wednesday. EMC officials have already announced that it was "highly unlikely" the company would show a profit this quarter. Many industry analysts expect earnings to fall 4 or 5 cents below expectations, which would translate into several hundred millions dollars.
Such losses partially result from the overall bad economy, but also come from EMCs intense competition from such industry heavyweights as Compaq Computer Corp., Hewlett-Packard Co., Hitachi, IBM, Network Appliance Inc. and Sun Microsystems Inc.
But unlike EMC, these companies have other businesses to fall back on, which is why EMC is anxious to diversify its offerings beyond hardware, into such areas as storage management software and virtualization.