EMC has released versions of Documentum, Document Sciences and Captiva that can be run in the cloud, the first to appear under its OnDemand banner.
The OnDemand apps, launched on Tuesday, will run on servers provided by EMC partners and will be managed by EMC. The new versions are of management tools Document Sciences and Captiva, along with other clients, developer tools and core services that fall within the EMC Documentum family. Customers can still opt for the existing on-premise versions of the apps, or adopt a hybrid on-and-off-premise approach.
Rick Devenuti, president of EMC's Information Intelligence Group, said OnDemand will see the company "take care of the hardware, the OS, the database, and manage it for you".
"We need to change," Devenuti told an audience of partners and customers at the EMC Momentum conference in Berlin. "Historically, we lived on-premise, [but] we need to transform ourselves. We need to move to the cloud and add flexibility."
EMC's xCP business process management software will become available on OnDemand in the first half of next year, the company said. It expects its partners will start to release apps that use the technology at that time.
The new hybrid cloud system is EMC's "biggest step ever in terms of making the product easier to use", OnDemand product chief Mark Arbour said. He said there is "no limit" to the enterprise apps that can be deployed in such a way.
The technology that allows OnDemand apps to be ported on- and off-premise is Vcube virtual container. Vcube is based on virtualisation technology from VMware, which is majority-owned by EMC. Arbour noted that 'Vcube' was only a temporary product name and said EMC will "come up with a more official name" at some point.
"You can move the Vcube — it can exist in our datacentre in the cloud, or [...] we can move it and digitally transport it to the customer's site," Arbour said. "You can have some of it in our cloud and some of it in the private cloud."
Asked why EMC had chosen to embrace the cloud now rather than sooner, Devenuti told ZDNet UK that the company first had to "figure out how to do it from a technology perspective".
They will need to buy it all over again, because it's a totally different model from what they had before, but the ability to go live so quickly is what is so attractive to them.– David De Jear, EMC
"You don't just take an on-premise application and put it up in the cloud. You can always say you're in the cloud by putting Documentum in a hosted facility, but there are no cost, management or performance advantages to that," he said.
Devenuti suggested that OnDemand will help EMC sell to mid-size enterprise customers that want to avoid setting up their own datacentres. Traditionally, large enterprises have been EMC's domain.
According to Arbour, an early access program has indicated that OnDemand versions of apps have much better performance than their on-premise counterparts. "We run everything including the client up in the cloud, so you're not communicating back and forth over the WAN. There's a big improvement in access and performance," he said.
The OnDemand service, as is common with the cloud and software-as-a-service (SaaS), involves a monthly fee. EMC's target market includes customers that have already bought the on-premise versions of Documentum and the various enterprise content management (ECM) apps.
"They will need to buy it all over again, because it's a totally different model from what they had before, but the ability to go live so quickly is what is so attractive to them," EMC spokesman David De Jear told ZDNet UK. The company was unable to give subscription pricing for the software.
At the Momentum conference, EMC also introduced a major revamp of the user interfaces for its products, based on a deal with French software provider C6.
"We have heard more and more about user dissatisfaction with our user front-ends," Devenuti said on stage. "It was a 'build versus buy' decision, and today I'm pleased to announce we've acquired the technology assets of C6, which has been a great partner of ours for a number of years."
The C6 technology is designed to let customers quickly configure and modify EMC's software, rather than having to write a plethora of extensions. The first fruit of the arrangement is the interface for the Documentum D2 web app.
Get the latest technology news and analysis, blogs and reviewsdelivered directly to your inbox with