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EMC Unveils Grid Gameplan

EMC is edging towards grid computing with todays $30 million purchase of grid software technology from Acxiom Corporation. (See EMC Buys Grid Tech.)

Grids have largely been the domain of Hewlett-Packard, IBM, and Sun Microsystems, although EMC has quietly plotted its entrance while moving beyond traditional storage in the past year.

EMC and Axciom have actually constructed a multi-faceted partnership. EMC is paying for Acxiom’s grid software, but the two companies will jointly develop and sell a hosted grid service that Acxiom offers. Eventually, they will integrate systems, software, and services into a non-hosted grid product. EMC will then sell the grid product, while Acxiom continues to sell the hosted services.

"We will jointly market the hosted solution while we are building out the real solution that we wish to deliver -- that’s a product that installs beyond the customer firewall," says Ian Baird, EMC's CTO of grid and utility computing and head of its new grid incubation unit.

At its analyst day in August, EMC CEO Joe Tucci said the company would continue to move outside the traditional storage realm (See EMC Casts Wider Net.) Network management, security, and services are among the new areas that EMC has targeted. Baird says recent EMC acquisitions such as server virtualization startup VMware, network systems management vendor Smarts, and file virtualization company Rainfinity provide pieces that will be used in its grid strategy. (See EMC Completes VMware Acquisition, EMC Buys Smarts, and EMC to Buy Rainfinity.)

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