EMC should stick to value instead of big, trusted and smart
CDN hosted the president of EMC Canada Michael Sharun about a week ago to shoot his Newsmakers Video segment. You can see that here. After filming Sharun hyped up the big announcement on January 18th. You can read a great story on that by my colleague Howard Solomon here. Sharun told me that this announcement was going to be the biggest in EMC history.
I said to him: “Wow that's saying something.” Now I want to be clear here Sharun was not hyping the announcement they way say Mike Tyson or Don King would hype a prize fight. He did it his own way. But he made it clear to me that this announcement was very important not just to EMC but to the industry as a whole.
So let’s break down the announcement. EMC announced more than 40 new products such as its high-end VMAX Symmetrix array. It also introduced a clustered NAS from its recent acquisition of Isilon Systems.

If the mandate for EMC was to release a whole whack of products then it's definitely the biggest announcement in its history. But I was looking for something that was more game changing. I know the EMC executives will claim that each product is a game changer, but lets be honest no one is that good. When I say game changer I'm talking about the IBM desktop PC or the Mac graphical user interface or email.

Let's break it down further. Another highlight of the event was the release of EMC's Data Domain Backup Systems that is seven times faster than the competition. That's great for the financial services industry that need that kind of blinding speed, but in reality most customers are looking for reliability. Everett Antsey the long time Canadian president of Sun Microsystems told me that Ferrari type systems are great but what Canadian customers really want are Toyota's and Honda's; basically systems that work and keep working for a long time.

Another interesting release was EMC's Data Domian Archiver. Now this product, according to EMC, attacks tape's last major hideout with the first storage system for backup and archive. This product does solve a long standing challenge in the marketplace and you have to give credit to EMC for cracking this nut; but customers have not been talking about tape for a long time now. But, instead of piece meal solutions that are available today I can see the Archiver being the go-to solution for long term storage.

EMC was also claiming that its new Storage Array the Symmetrix VMAX is the world's most powerful, trusted and smartest storage array capable of supporting five million virtual machines. I have no doubt that this system is powerful and can support five million VMs, but come on “trusted” or “smartest”! I can tell you this does not resonate with the channel or with customers. But I have to hand it to EMC for really pushing the envelope here on technology.

OK what else did they announce: A new line of unified storage called VNX. This new line consolidates the features and capabilities of CLARiiON and Celerra into a one. What I like about this move is that it's what the channel has been asking for not just of EMC but others. It also pushes the unified storage debate. I think just on that level alone it shows leadership from EMC.

From the channel side, EMC a traditional direct seller announced many reseller initiatives such as a new authorized reseller category for VNX. This is going to make it a lot easier for resellers to achieve the minimum training and revenue targets to enter the Velocity channel program. Again this shows leadership from EMC especially with channel partners. This will get more channel partners into the game. Vendors have to make it easy for channel partner to sell their stuff and this move does that.

The event itself was quite a show with live stunts. About 26 people, not sure if they all worked for EMC stuffed themselves into a Mini Cooper automobile to break a Guinness Book world record. EMC also brought up a fourth grader to the stage to help configure a VNX. That stunt worked and I give them credit for it. You know what they say in show business; never work with kids.

To show how serious EMC is about all these products being successful in the market place, company president Pat Gelsinger talked about EMC becoming the low price leader. I don't have all the pricing in front of me to give you a comparison, but the message is clear to me: EMC is finally offering value for the money. And that's a statement that will resonate with people. Not buzz words such as “biggest announcement in EMC history” or “smartest” and “trusted.”

A lot of quick hits before I go. The biggest of which is Linda Fitzgerald who was Charles Salameh’s No. 2 at HP Canada’s PSG group is the new president of NCR Canada. Fitzgerald replaces Luc Villeneuve who left the Canadian operation to run NCR Europe.

Mitel Networks Corp. has chosen a communications industry veteran as its new chief executive officer. Richard McBee, who had been president of the communications and enterprise group of Danaher Corp., will replace Don Smith as of Jan. 17 at the Ottawa-based maker of unified communications software and equipment. Smith retired last September.

Most people already know this but here it is again, Apple CEO Steve Jobs will take a leave of absence from the company for medical reasons, but will remain involved in major strategic decisions. He will leave day-to-day operations to COO Tim Cook.

Jim McNiel has had the interim tag removed from his role of President and CEO of FalconStor Software.

Dell named Steve Schuckenbrock as president of Dell Services, replacing Peter Altabef, who is leaving the company after helping integrate Perot Systems into Dell, according to the company.
And, finally speaking of Perot Systems, one of its more high profile executives Reza Saleh, who is no longer with the company pleaded guilty to insider-trading stemming from the original Dell/Perot acquisition deal. Saleh aided Ross Perot in rescuing two EDS employees during the Iran Hostage crisis in 1979.



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