EMC CEO Talks Up The Software-Defined Data Center

Joe Tucci tells OpenWorld crowd how EMC plans to capitalize on cloud computing and big data trends.

Tony Kontzer

September 24, 2013

3 Min Read
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Calling the IT mega trends of cloud, big data and mobility “tremendously disruptive and tremendously opportunistic,” Joe Tucci, the CEO of storage giant EMC, delivered a keynote at Oracle’s OpenWorld conference Tuesday that aimed to position the company’s expanding technology stack at the center of those trends.

The anchor of EMC’s strategy is the so-called “software-defined data center,” which enables control layers to be abstracted from the underlying infrastructure, allowing for pooling of processing cores, network resources, storage --you name it.

“The software defined data center is going to change everything,” Tucci told thousands of conference attendees.

EMC earlier this year announced its ViPR software-defined storage product, which becomes generally available this month. The idea is to make storage as flexible as applications have become, enabling storage resources to be provisioned and managed in real time as application requirements change.

“There are applications that need very high service levels from storage, and there are applications that need very high performance levels from storage,” Tucci said. “What’s needed by an application might not be the case 10 minutes from now.”

Jeremy Burton, EMC’s chief marketing officer, joined Tucci on stage to tell attendees that ViPR is designed to give customers a “public cloud experience” in their private clouds. In other words, provisioning and migration of workloads needs to be accompanied by data that can follow it to any device over any network.

“You don’t know what application is going to be running on what infrastructure at any particular time,” Burton said.

[Read David Hill's analysis of EMC's strategy with ViPR and Pivotal in "EMC Navigates the IT Transformation Waters."]

Naturally, one of the drivers that’s causing vendors like EMC to beef up the technologies that surround applications is the massive amount of data now flowing from those apps. For Tucci, the term “big data” isn’t sufficient; hence, he’s calling it “big and fast” data.

Along those lines, he reminded conference-goers that Pivotal, the company EMC and VMware jointly spun off earlier this year, is developing a cloud-based platform-as-a-service for building big data-friendly applications. Tucci envisions such applications delivering -- and calling for --a lot of data that will reside in EMC’s various storage products.

“Every enterprise has three times as much unstructured data, and it’s growing five times as fast as structured data,” he said.Tucci laid out a vision in which EMC’s storage technology, Pivotal’s big data applications and VMware’s cloud infrastructure serve as open components that give IT leaders choice. He also noted that each of the three technologies play nice with other vendors’ products.

And yes, that includes Oracle’s venerable lineup of databases, middleware and cloud-based applications, a huge consideration given that, as Tucci said, EMC and Oracle have an overlap of about 80,000 customers. (On that front, EMC has created a plug in for Oracle Enterprise Manager that makes it possible for Oracle cloud customers to manage all of their EMC products in sync with their cloud environments.)

Overarching all of this is what Tucci called the “third great platform of IT” -- namely mobile, which he considers the greatest opportunity customers are facing.

“Our job is to make sure we become relevant and a leader” on the mobile platform, Tucci said.

[Get insight into market forces that are fundamentally changing IT and new competencies that IT pros will need in this new era in "Compete In The Modern World of IT" at Interop New York Sept. 30-Oct. 4.]

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