Day 1 at this year’s EMC World is now over. Did we see any game changing new technology or focus? I don’t think so.
So for me the day kicked of with Joe Tucci’s keynote speech. Check it out here. It’s the first time I’ve seen Tucci speak and he doesn’t come across to me as the most charismatic performer. My overall impression of his presentation content was one of consolidation and incremental change. The EMC steamroller is clearly heading towards hardware commoditisation and virtualisation. That message expressed pretty clearly in Tucci’s “next big thing” slide; there are four areas: The Virtual Datacentre, Cloud Computing, Virtual Clients, Virtual Applications. For a storage company, the message is less about storage and more about the VMware platform. Is this a positioning exercise for an acquisition by Cisco?
Paul Maritz then stood up and gave us the future of VMware and vSphere. I heard someone say that the presentation wasn’t new and had been given at a previous VMware shindig. Again, the message is incremental change but leveraging the ability to “federate” resources and have them running in your datacentre (internal cloud) or with an external service provider (external cloud). One thing I find interesting is the idea of a flexible charging model – move processing around and pay for what you use. However the major issue with this idea is the lack of control over what the user can do; is it really a good thing to give your users unbridled access to computing resources? Where are the cost controls?
Later in the day I checked out a V-Max architecture session. There’s lots of new incremental changes to the product; 512 hypers per disk (make 1TB drives more useful), new replication devices (R11/R21/R22) to bring improvements to SRDF/STAR and replication technologies, plus a host of other useful changes too numerous for me to mention. What comes across well in these presentations is EMC’s engineering quality. There’s good reasoning and structure to the changes they announce and they are pretty well customer focused (for example, incremental improvements to invalid track processing to speed up SRDF failbacks). EMC do a good job of getting the message out on these changes (specifically Barry Burke’s blog) and there are precious few others in the industry doing a similar thing with this level of depth (the exception for me being Barry Whyte). HDS and the rest of IBM could do with finding some decent bloggers to get the message out. Most of us don’t want to wade through product manuals to find these new features; new media can be used to get this message across and with Twitter and blogging EMC are still taking the lead. HDS clearly have a lot to learn in this area judging by their poor counter-EMC views posted this week.
Later in the day I wandered around the Solutions Pavilion. I’ll post more on that for Day 2, in the meantime, here’s a link to my Flickr pictures of the event so far.