The unifying theme at the recent EMC World 2010 conference in Boston was that the journey to the private cloud starts now. While that vision permeated company executives' keynote presentations, do not make the mistake that EMC has its head in the clouds. Large vendors need to take a leadership role so that customers believe that they will be able to meet their evolving requirements. Those vendors also have to have a clear understanding of what customer requirements are today, a point to which EMC has always paid close attention.
Among the number of senior executive keynotes, three that most articulated the vision of the private cloud were Joe Tucci, chairman, EMC president and CEO; Pat Gelsinger, president and COO, EMC Information Infrastructure Products; Howard Elias, president and COO, EMC Information Infrastructure and Cloud Services. In addition to their customer-facing keynote public presentations, these three expanded on the direction that EMC is taking in individual question-and-answer sessions with industry analysts who attended EMC World.
In effect, the private cloud is the process by which IT infrastructures will be transformed into what some have called "next generation data centers." While EMC's vision of the private cloud is actually a hybrid that includes internal clouds owned by enterprise clients and external clouds managed by service providers, the focus at EMC World tended to be on the process whereby an internal data center is transformed into a private cloud.
This approach seemed reasonable in order to get customers to embrace change as a positive rather than a threat, which some might perceive the external cloud to be. The private cloud promises many things, including greater cost efficiencies -- which includes freeing up part of the 70 percent of the data center's costs expended on maintenance to more productive uses, such as innovation that can help drive competitive advantage through the use of information technology -- and overall operational flexibility, which includes on-demand provisioning and application-data mobility over distance.
Before he discussed the cloud, Joe Tucci emphasized that EMC is at its heart and soul a technology company. In the last five years, EMC spent about $14 billion on new technical capabilities. About half that money was spent in the form of internal research and development and about half on acquisitions of external companies and intellectual property. EMC plans to continue acquiring companies this year. Tucci then turned his attention to the private cloud, which he feels is necessary to deal with the complexity, inefficiency, inflexibility and cost of current IT infrastructures. And those problems are only exacerbated by the information explosion as documented by EMC-sponsored IDC research.David Hill is principal of Mesabi Group LLC, which focuses on helping organizations make complex IT infrastructure decisions simpler and easier to understand. He is the author of the book "Data Protection: Governance, Risk Management, and Compliance." View Full Bio