Lewis: EMC Staying the Course

Interview: EMC's CTO, Mark Lewis, plans to follow the path laid out by his predecessor.

Mark Lewis, EMC Corp.s new CTO, said the company has made progress in its attempts to reinvent itself as a software vendor, but still sees changes coming in both software and hardware.

In an wide-ranging interview with eWEEK on Friday, Lewis, who came over to EMC from Hewlett-Packard Co., said he plans on essentially following the same path as that laid out by Jim Rothnie, who now is CTO emeritus at the Hopkinton, Mass., company.

"As CTO coming in, I will try over time to put out, and we will try to become more articulate, not just over our products but our direction, more insight into where we are going," he said.

A key part of that strategy will be continuing to grow out the companys AutoIS management software initiative, Lewis said.

Next week, CEO and President Joe Tucci will unveil what he is calling "chapter two" of the companys AutoIS storage management software strategy. The key new developments, sources said, are resource management and virtualization software, and more abilities to manage hardware from Hitachi Ltd. and IBM, based on reverse engineering. EMC will also announce EMC Data Manager 5.0, based on technology from Solid Information Technology Corp., of Mountain View, Calif., officials of that company said.

Lewis declined to comment directly on next weeks announcements at the Storage Decisions 2002 show. However, he said, "We get things pretty full from a within a completeness perspective. We are filling out the product … with respect to the connectivity it offers" from the reverse engineering angle. HP currently leads that trend.

However, "its unlikely that it will ever be done, in the sense that software does evolve to hopefully get better," Lewis said. "In all of the major categories for AutoIS, we plan continual progression."

Among the more controversial parts of AutoIS is WideSky--EMCs middleware for translating third-party programming interfaces into code that the ControlCenter application can oversee. But EMC built that as a necessity, not a nicety, Lewis said.

"We dont want to write WideSky," he said. "Its not a desirable thing. Itd be much easier if we didnt, but we do want to solve our customers problems."

The company does want the CIM (Common Information Model) and Bluefin specifications to succeed and to expand in scope to make WideSky unnecessary, he said. There has been criticism within the industry that WideSky proves that EMC is anti-standards. "Having said that, we faced a reality of a situation that said we need to get products out today," and no vendors hardware--not even EMCs--supports the new standards yet, he noted.