EMC has been on a business acquisition tear for the past few years, and in his keynote address at this year's EMC World, CEO Joe Tucci signaled that trend would continue. But as the show went on, it became clear that EMC is just beginning to leverage and integrate its many acquisitions.
The bulk of the company's revenue still comes from its storage systems division, which accounts for more than $10 billion of the company's $13.9 billion in income. But the news for the storage division was mostly around some incremental features for existing products.
On the storage side, EMC is finally joining the thin provisioning crowd. Thin provisioning allows storage to be allocated on the fly based on policy.
The company also announced some features under the "green" moniker. These include the ability to spin down drives on certain of its storage systems, and the availability 1-TB SATA II drives. These two features provide power savings and improve data density with its arrays -- both of which are welcome benefits in crowded data centers.
Declaring tape too slow to meet recovery time objectives, EMC also announced a series of new disk libraries ranging from systems as small as 4 TB to ones expandable to many hundreds of terabytes. Along with the new systems, EMC has incorporated its Avamar backup software with data deduplication (what EMC called 3D) technology. The Avamar software gives EMC the ability to both deduplicate data on the storage device -- which is preferable on local networks and when servers are busy -- and at the source, which can save substantially on WAN bandwidth requirements.
EMC claims its 3D technology can produce substantial decreases in daily backup volume and total storage.
Perhaps the best acquisition by any tech vendor in recent memory was EMC's purchase of VMware, and the company was working hard to create some buzz about how well its other products work with VMware. One particularly important announcement was an upgrade to its Smarts management suite called Application Discovery Manager 6.0.
Leveraging technology it got through its nLayers acquisition in mid-2006, Smarts can now discover and map application dependencies on virtual servers as well as physical ones. No agents are required; instead, Smarts passively monitors traffic on the VMware Virtual Switch level.
Somewhat ironically, the software doesn't provide visibility into the storage infrastructure -- this is owing to the nLayers roots of the product. But as one might expect, company execs say a fix to that is coming soon. Also coming soon is support for Microsoft- and Xen-based hypervisors.