EMC to open latest R&D centre in Israel

EMC is tapping up Israel's experts in machine learning and data recognition for the opening of a new EMC Labs Israel facility.
Written by David Shamah, Contributor

Big data and big storage need big solutions – and EMC is planning to tackle both with machine learning and data pattern recognition experts from Israel.

That's one aspect of the blueprint for activities in the new facility that the company is opening up in Israel, called EMC Labs.

Ophir Kra-Oz
Ophir Kra-Oz

The facility, which will open in the near future according to the company, is only the second such EMC facility in the world – with the other located in China.

EMC already has two R&D centres in Israel – in the tech centre of Herzliya, and the southern city of Beersheva, home of Ben Gurion University with which the R&D centre works very closely, said Ophir Kra-Oz, senior director of EMC's Greenplum division and general manager of the EMC R&D centre in Beersheva.

"There's a lot of elasticity in the cloud," he said, and sometimes too much of a good thing can be overwhelming to data managers. Especially nowadays, when virtualised computing gives data managers access to vast resources, "it is harder to define the limits of data usage. You have so much virtual storage and computing ability, and so much freedom. But the storage and security choices you made yesterday are no longer relevant today, because the data circumstances have changed," whether on the side of the data you need to crunch or store, or the resources available to you, said Kra-Oz.

How do data managers deal with these changing parameters? As well as they can, said Kra-Oz, making decisions on the basis of what's available to them at any particular time.

Machine learning

However, instead of random picking and choosing, managers should be able to utilise a policy, Kra-Oz said. Among the projects that EMC Labs Israel will carry out will be to help develop those policies, using techniques like machine learning and data recognition to understand the patterns of usage for a system, and to make automatic policy suggestions and adjustments.

"The skills needed for projects like this are things that Israel does very well," said Kra-Oz. "EMC already has a staff in Israel that is expert in machine learning and data recognition, and the company has extensive co-operation with Ben Gurion University's computer engineering department.

"EMC Labs is more than an R&D centre, in that we are looking at products and services that go beyond what we do right now, but we believe that we can do innovative projects for big data and storage fairly quickly with the talents and resources we can find in Israel."

EMC in Israel

Although perhaps a little less well known for its Israel activities than other large IT companies, EMC is no stranger to Israel, with "many hundreds" of employees here, according to Kra-Oz, and the company has acquired numerous Israeli companies – the most recent being flash storage technology company XtremeIO, which EMC bought earlier this year for $450m.

Orna Berry
Dr Orna Berry

EMC announced its plans to establish EMC Labs Israel at a gala event on Wednesday, which featured a Tech Festival with start-ups and established companies showing off new and innovative technologies, including a driving simulator developed by GM (which itself has an extensive R&D facility in Israel). Along with the demonstrations, there were TED-style lectures on the social implications of technology, with lectures on topics like 'the internet of things' and 'the social networks of plants'.

The event was attended by EMC executives including Howard Elias, CEO of EMC information infrastructure and cloud services, who said: "EMC Labs in Israel will bring the innovation activities at EMC's Israel Center of Excellence to a whole new level."

According to Dr Orna Berry, GM of EMC Israel, "Israel's high tech industry, along with its culture of entrepreneurship and its openness to innovation, has contributed – and will continue to contribute – to EMC's advanced technology offerings globally."

Kra-Oz couldn't agree more. "EMC Israel is really on the map, especially since Dr Berry was appointed general manager of local operations. Many of the top people in EMC have been here over the past year, a clear sign of the impact that the company's Israel operations are making, And the fact that 'little Israel' chosen for the location of the second EMC Labs – after that other 'small' country, China – is part of that momentum."

(L. ro R.) Dr, Orna Berry, Israel's Chief Scientist Avi Hasson, and Howard D. Elias at a panel discussion during EMC's Tech Festival in Tel Aviv
(L ro R) Dr Orna Berry, Israel's chief scientist Avi Hasson, and Howard D Elias at a panel discussion during EMC's Tech Festival in Tel Aviv. Image: EMC



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