EMC outlines technology strategy

At its annual EMC Corp. Technology Summit event at the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino in Las Vegas, EMC executives took the stage to outline the company’s strategy going forward, including a partnership with Microsoft and a shift from a one-size-fits-all strategy to a choice of tools for a specific task.

Dave Donatelli, executive vice-president of storage platforms operations at EMC, started his presentation to the assembled EMC customers by updating the progress of EMC and its new product families over the past year. Explaining the company’s current strategy of providing a product that meets all needs, Donatelli drew on his past and his work with carpenters.

“Carpenters need the proper tool to do the job correctly,” said Donatelli, drawing a comparison to EMC’s customers and the specific tasks they are looking to accomplish based on performance, cost, and characteristics of the given task.

After explaining that the same Fibre Channel-based drives could be used in all of the company’s products, Donatelli said the company’s SANcopy software will soon permit customers to replicate data between EMC’s Symmetrix and Clariion family of products. Additionally, Donatelli said EMC will soon permit users with new software to simply replicate only the data that has changed on a Symmetrix array since the last copy.

Donatelli also said that EMC has plans to support the recently ratified iSCSI standard. He sees iSCSI as a technology that will “come in the middle” between FC and IP-based network attached storage (NAS) in terms of performance. He also revealed that in the coming year EMC will unveil new products in its DMX and CX lines as well as increased SAN functionality in the form of new software.

He concluded his speech by restating that flexibility was the company’s new motto and not one-size-fits-all.

After Donatelli spoke, Joe Tucci, president and CEO of EMC, was joined onstage by Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer to announce a NAS appliance based on technology developed by Microsoft. The new appliance, dubbed NetWin 200, will be built using Microsoft’s Windows-powered NAS software, which EMC has licensed. EMC joins Dell Computer, Hewlett-Packard, and IBM as licensees of Microsoft’s NAS offering.

Additionally, Tucci announced that the companies have worked together to more tightly integrate their APIs to ensure improved interoperability. The two companies also plan to work together going forward to develop APIs that further allow interoperability between Microsoft’s recently announced Windows Server 2003.

The two companies will also jointly sale and market the product, and as Tucci explained will also work to ensure much of the functionality is pre-integrated.

Speaking in his customary loud tone, Ballmer explained that he and Microsoft were delighted to be working with EMC. “Joe said it best: This is an extension of long-standing alliance between the two companies,” said Ballmer. “We’ve licensed protocols to [EMC] to get a higher level of interoperability.”

Tucci explained the NetWin 200 would be sold by EMC’s direct sales force as well as by its existing resell partners. The NetWin 200 uses functionality from EMC’s existing Clariion CX200, along with Microsoft’s software. The appliance can be managed by either Windows or EMC’sControlCenter software.

When asked if Microsoft will support the use of Microsoft Exchange on Windows Powered NAS devices, Ballmer emphasized strongly that Microsoft was working very hard to support its e-mail server on all the NAS appliances running Windows Powered NAS.

The company is on the Web at www.emc.com.