EMC looks to manage information growth

Its latest moniker is "Where Information Lives" as the company tries to stay ahead

Over the years EMC has presented itself as 'The Storage Architects" and, later, "The Enterprise Storage Company." Its latest moniker is "Where Information Lives" as the company tries to stay ahead of a rapidly evolving data storage marketplace.

In Canada recently for the EMC Forum conference, vice-chair Bill Teuber said over the years the company has tried to change the way people think about storage. With the goal of leading the market, and not following it, he said EMC sees the major challenges of the next five years centering around information growth. Quoting figures from research firm IDC, Teuber said the volume of new data created annually is expected to rise from 161 billion GB in 2006 to 988 billion GB in 2010, a 6X increase.

"Think about that if you're within an organization. How do you cope with that growth?" said Teuber. "The growth of data has been astronomical within organizations."

While there is a change in how data is being created, with 70 percent of that future figure expected to be created by individuals, Teuber noted organizations will still be responsible for collecting, sharing and protecting 85 percent of that data, according to IDC. That's the challenge EMC is looking to address.

To that end, EMC is going to market in four major business areas: storage, information security, virtualization and content management and archiving. EMC's business in many of these areas has been fueled by major acquisitions: VMWare for virtualization, Documentum for content management and RSA for security. The strategy, said Teuber, has been to acquire market leaders.

He notes the RSA purchase was not fueled not by their products, but by the underlying authentication technology, which has already been embedded into the OS for EMC's storage arrays and will continue to be embedded throughout their product set.

A company's IT security approach can't be perimeter-centric, said Teuber, but rather must be end-to-end and should reside with the information. People need to get inside the perimeter, he said, and we need to understand who needs to be there and what they need to do.

"We have a much different approach than other companies out there, and we think our approach has been validated...as our strategy has been adopted by other companies," said Teuber.

As it rolls this strategy out to the market, Teuber said EMC's channel partners will be called-on to play a major role making it a success.Since EMC can't get to all companies directly, he said the company relies on the channel.

"It's incumbent on us to help the channel enhance the value proposition we bring to customers around the world," said Teuber. "There's tremendous opportunity out there and we can't get at it all directly,and that's the challenge with the channel, to be able to leverage and get at that opportunity."

A challenge for EMC has been to integrate its major acquisitions over the years, many of which came with existing mature channel programs. Teuber said with the acquisitions the key is always not to break what's working, adding EMC has always tried to maintain those company's existing channel strategies.

"Our goal is to enhance the value proposition versus change how they go to market," said Teuber. "If you look at the revenue numbers, I'd say we've done a pretty fair job."

With EMC playing in four very diverse business areas, Teuber said while some larger partners can and do play across all four areas, many partners only play in one or two. It's a matter of investment on both sides, he said.

"It depends on the scale and size of the partner," said Teuber. "Just like we can do more for our customers delivering the lineup of information and services that meets all their information management needs, partners at various levels of the marketplace can achieve the same objectives.

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