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EMC: Accelerating The Journey To The Private Cloud

IT industry analyst meetings provide a good opportunity for analysts to gain a broader and more comprehensive understanding of a vendor.  At EMC's fall 2009 EMC North American Industry Analyst Summit in Franklin, Massachusetts, Joe Tucci, the company's chairman, president, and CEO, kicked off the summit with a strategy and vision statement. He delineated seven basic principles that EMC adheres to: staying close to customers, gaining market share, attracting talent, sustaining and deepening product technology edge, sharpening cost disciplines, making opportunistic mergers and acquisitions for competitive positioning and communicating internally and externally.

Now some critics might say that those are just platitudes, but Mr. Tucci has a positive track record of not just saying things, but making them happen. Those seven principles seem to describe well what EMC has already been doing. For example, it has had listened to its customers through customer councils for many, many years and is very likely to keep doing so in the future.

He strongly emphasized that EMC is a technology company and that its focus is the IT infrastructure. EMC invests about 12 to 13 percent of its annual revenues in R&D, which is roughly $2 billion per year. This translates into EMC remaining close to its core competencies. One example that was discussed later is services which EMC views as a means to an end and not an end in itself. That implied that EMC will expand its services business selectively and not pursue its competitors' overarching services strategies. As pointed out in a later presentation, EMC is not trying to enable yesterday's service model.

According to Tucci, IT is going through another of its periodic waves. He described what he called "IT 3.0" as x86-based, highly virtualized, cloud-like, liquid pools of resources, and X as a service (XaaS). That is, a widening variety of applications, processes and compute models presented as services. Three guiding principles of IT 3.0 are efficiency, control and choice. Efficiency is obviously about cost reductions, control means that the IT organization maintains primacy in decision-making that affects the enterprise and choice means that IT has options on which vendor products and services to choose.

This would seem to conflict with something like the Virtual Computing Environment (VCE), where Cisco, EMC and VMware are putting together tightly integrated IT infrastructure packages. However, while Mr. Tucci feels that customers can benefit from such price fixed solutions, they will still retain that ability to go a la carte with a blend of products from the VCE coalition's individual partners and other vendors, if they should so choose.

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