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Could EMC Become The Amdahl of Cloud Storage?

There is no doubt that EMC has shipped some Atmos storage since its introduction. Yes, EMC has Atmos. And the company claims that Atmos is specifically designed for the cloud. However, I believe that there are fundamental issues with the way EMC sells Atmos to customers. First of all, if Atmos is cloud storage, then it should be sold on a usage basis. Customers should be charged only for what they use--not for petabytes of capacity up front. After all, isn't that the whole premise of cloud? Lowering your capital expenditures and shifting to a utility model? It makes me wonder if EMC is slowly becoming the Amdahl of Cloud Storage.

EMC appears reluctant to embrace the utility model, in my opinion, for fear of rapid margin compression. Instead, the company is touting its "cloud" storage to customers much the same way it touted "information lifecycle management" (ILM) storage, storage for "hyper-consolidation" and "information plants," among other marketing badges it affixed to its products. It's demanding payment for all Atmos storage capacity up front before dropping it on your data center floor.

While this approach will still work for some direct attached storage (DAS), (storage area network) SAN and (network-attached storage) NAS implementations, cloud storage utility architectures are a different animal. Moving customers to a cloud environment doesn't mean you apply the same sales and pricing principles of Symmetrix.

It doesn't mean you still charge customers maintenance fees and expect a tech refresh purchase every 18 to 24 months. EMC could be installing Atmos at customer sites and managing and charging for it as a cloud storage service--but it's not.

And with this type of aging sales approach, one has to wonder: Is EMC on a slow trajectory to effectively becoming the Amdahl of Cloud Storage?

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