EMC Wheels Out Ford

Is it really a new deal, or EMC just pushing its software story?

December 18, 2001

3 Min Read
Network Computing logo

First it was MasterCard, then it was Burger King, and today its Ford (see EMC: 'Priceless' and Ford Goes With EMC). In a little over a month, EMC Corp. (NYSE: EMC) has announced that these three corporate giants have soft spots for EMC software. Is it news -- or is EMC trying to make the point that it knows software as well as hardware?

EMC has made clear its interest in keeping ahead of market trends by proclaiming its software expertise (see EMC Goes Soft). “Maybe two years ago they would have been talking about selling Symmetrix storage,” says Dan Tanner, an analyst with Aberdeen Group Inc.. “Now EMC wants to position itself as a software provider. This press release is just about the PR department being active.”

Although Ford itself was unavailable for comment on its use of EMC products, EMC has lots to say about the case. The vendor says that over the last few months, Ford has implemented EMC’s Symmetrix Data Remote Facility (SRDF) software to protect 260 terabytes of storage, supporting marketing, financial, manufacturing, product development, and other applications in Ford’s IBM mainframe environment. EMC claims the move has reduced Ford’s information disaster recovery time from several days to only a couple of hours.

“Our SRDF software eliminates downtime and allows you to instantaneously transfer information from one location to another,” says EMC spokesperson Anne Pace. “It’s a very advanced recovery system.”

EMC replaced Ford's old system of backing up information on tape. SRDF automatically replicates mainframe information on disk, making it immediately available to remote locations.But while SRDF might be both effective and fast, it is also quite pricey. The software can cost from $60,000 to $150,000, and it can only be purchased with a Symmetrix storage array, which costs anywhere from $100,000 to millions of dollars. Ford has more than 500 terabytes of data stored on Symmetrix systems -- no small investment. Pace, however, says that the value of the system far outweighs the cost.

“We had about a dozen customers in the [World Trade Center] towers on September 11,” she says. “All of their information was saved by being sent to remote locations.”

According to Pace, Ford chose the SRDF software because of its reliability and because of EMC’s long track record of developing and implementing disaster recovery solutions.

“EMC invented SRDF as early as 1993,” she says, “after the first attack on the World Trade Center.”

Despite EMC's promotion of Ford's choice, Pace acknowledges that Ford was a longstanding EMC customer prior to the SRDF installation. While she can't say exactly how long the relationship has been in place, she says it takes a considerable length of time to build up 500 terabytes of EMC storage.Aberdeen's Tanner suggests that EMC probably beat the competition at Ford by being a safe bet. “A couple of years ago, IBM was a sure thing,” he says. “No one who chose an IBM solution would get fired. Today, no one ever loses his job by choosing EMC.”

— Eugénie Larson, special to Byte and Switch

Stay informed! Sign up to get expert advice and insight delivered direct to your inbox

You May Also Like

More Insights