EMC's Lewis Eyes Storage Symphony

SNW keynote draws on holistic thinking about storage management, backup, and security

October 26, 2005

2 Min Read
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ORLANDO, Fla. -- Storage Networking World -- EMC's Mark Lewis was talking big ideas, and he invited conference attendees into the conversation during his keynote Tuesday morning.

Lewis, chief development officer for EMC Corp. (NYSE: EMC) and filling in for his boss, the weather-challenged CEO Joe Tucci, said a flexible, services-oriented model will serve storage buyers and builders best. And it will consist of common storage management and replication, storage virtualization that separates hardware from software, and more holistic information security management. Content services that use policy networking, classification, and search will be the virtual glue for the model, Lewis told SNW attendees.

"We need to be able to classify data but also have the policy settings and integration of application data management and pull it together from a content services perspective," Lewis said. "Tiered storage and data protection are great enablers, but if we fail to connect them to the business, then all the operational savings potential at all these other levels may go unrealized. Pulling it all together becomes truly important in our environment."

This kind of multi-tiered, integrated, interoperable data management idea is "the next big thing," according to Lewis, who concedes that "it's pretty grandiose and not something you're going to see next year."

The pressures on IT will only intensify, as information stored to disk grew 70 percent this year while IT budgets were down 5 percent. That makes it more critical then ever to squeeze every last efficiency from every box and every dollar spent, the EMC exec said.In tiered storage, that means transitioning to common storage management, as opposed to a management framework for every storage type and vendor deployed. Replication, backup, and archiving have to move from addressing individual applications and embrace more enterprise applications in use, Lewis said. As enterprises look to move data around based on its age and value, they should look to storage virtualization, which decouples hardware and software and opens up lots of options for enterprises. Lewis also encourages customers to look beyond the firewall-based perimeter approach to data security and use encryption, to protect data no matter where it is or how it moves.

These arent independent pieces -- they’re pieces of a band, Lewis said. "Separately they all make sound, and to a degree they make music, but if you really want a symphony, you need to orchestrate," and that, he noted, requires interoperability. To bring all the noise together into music, it has to interoperate. "It seems so basic, but this is the heavy lifting we must do."

All this technology has the potential to control costs, so the focus has to be on management and the individual capabilities of services, Lewis claimed. "We've done a good job of creating capability, but not controlling costs."

For enterprise customers, that's a big idea that storage vendors can't deliver on fast enough.

— Terry Sweeney, Editor in Chief, Byte and Switch0

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