EMC ramps up cloud efforts through tighter alliances

COO Pat Gelsinger, identifying gaps in organization, looks to plug them as well as work closely with industry partners to bring innovations in cloud and storage spaces.
Written by Kevin Kwang, Contributor

Six months into his job at EMC, Pat Gelsinger observed that different departments in the organization were "running their own plays", and has since been working hard at "connecting the dots" more firmly between the different business groups reporting to him.

The former Intel CTO, who is currently serving as EMC's president and COO for its information infrastructure products, told ZDNet Asia in a phone interview that improving the company's partnerships with other key players are also a priority, with the aim of "enabling new use models" for customers.

He pointed to the recent EMC-Intel collaboration as an example. EMC announced earlier this month it was partnering with the likes of Intel, RSA, VMWare and Archer Technologies to unveil a proof-of-concept to embed security on the entire cloud computing stack--from hardware to the applications running atop the infrastructure.

"This is an example of connecting the dots that we've been able to get underway since my arrival, and you will see more examples where we will simplify the product line and have unified management capabilities and security... We will do a better job in bringing our portfolio together," said Gelsinger.

Outlining EMC's storage plans
Gelsinger also announced plans to create a virtual storage center in the cloud last week, according to reports.

The project has been described as "a network of geographically distributed data caching appliances that maintain coherency and data consistency with respect to one another", despite great distances spanning between the various network nodes. Gelsinger, during an analyst briefing, noted that this product will have "solved the problem of cache coherency over distance".

Queried about this, he said EMC is essentially bringing two bodies of technology together to make this happen, namely caching, storing and workload technologies with Yotta Yotta's protocols, algorithms and patents. The latter was a Canadian storage networking company that EMC acquired in September 2008.

The executive added that while there is "appropriate skepticism" about the idea, the large majority of responses have been "positive" since the announcement.

On the product roadmap, he said "version one" of the product is being tested by customers today, while "version two" will see Yotta Yotta's software protocols and algorithms embedded into storage appliances.

Of the increasing amount of data the world is generating--IDC predicted that the amount of data we have will increase fourfold in the next four years--Gelsinger said this trend is "wonderful" and is the "fuel that drives our business".

He said the company is looking to increase the performance of their storage products, particularly in flash and solid state drive technology, while also driving down the cost of products and the energy used in running them.

Cloud drive in Asia
Gelsinger agreed that cloud computing is likely to see high adoption rates in due time in the Asia-Pacific region, because many of the emerging markets here do not have mature, established IT infrastructures.

He noted, however, that the region lags behind the West in adopting the cloud. But he remained optimistic, citing the example of the mobile phone industry in China take off after a similar lack of landline infrastructure, and is now twice the size of the U.S. market. Cloud computing will likely follow the same path, he said.

"There is still a lot of experimenting among customers and we're still in the early days, but we're optimistic because we see a lot of momentum and enthusiasm in the industry," Gelsinger said.

He also stressed the importance of the region to EMC's overall plans, saying that in regard to where the global economy is heading, "Asia is it". To that end, the company plans to be more aggressive in bringing its technologies here, he added.

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