Media Summary of Key Takeaways from EMC World: Growth, The 3rd Platform, and the Federation

May 8, 2014 Adam Bloom

With a furious pace of news announcements around the latest innovations, this year’s EMC World is now coming to a close. Those in attendance received the big picture of how information technology is being redefined with plenty of opportunity to dive into details at various sessions and exhibition floor booths.

Already, media journalists, IT analysts, thought leaders, consultants, and financial analysts have published many positive perspectives. Here is a summary of some of the most impactful viewpoints.

1. EMC is Strong, Helping Businesses Transform, and Growing

As the parent of both VMware and Pivotal, EMC is delivering results.

It is hard to find a vendor better prepared or suited to shoulder through existing barriers and capture future opportunities than EMC. Along with continuing to grow share in traditional storage hardware and software markets, the company’s strategy of tempering external acquisitions with continuing internal investment and development has resulted in an innovative collection of technologies, solutions, services and partnerships that have delivered—and should continue to deliver—ample benefits.

eCommerce Times Infrastcuture Analysis by Charles King

The article goes on to explain how EMC’s emerging storage solutions like Isilon and XtremIO grew 81% while revenues at Pivotal grew by 41%, VMware by 16%, and VCE’s Vblock by 50%. These product lines and business groups represent IT growth sectors like scale out storage, flash memory storage, business data lakes, Hadoop, big data, real-time data, mobile applications, platform as a service (PaaS), hybrid clouds, software defined data centers (SDDC), and converged virtualized infrastructure.

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EMC CEO Joe Tucci explained the opportunity in his keynote, “IT is transforming business more than any time in history to become more software defined.” He also shared highlights about market growth from the 2014 IDC Digital Universe Study—data will grow 10x in 7 years, from 4.4 zettabytes in 2013 to 44 zettabytes in 2020. In terms of EMC’s own growth Tucci explained that EMC shipped its first cumulative total exabyte of storage over the span of 14 years—from 1991 to 2005. Five years later, an exabyte was shipped during the 2010 calendar year. The third quarter of 2011 was the first quarter an exabyte was shipped, and the first month an exabyte was shipped was in 2013. What took 14 years to achieve now happens in a month.

2. The EMC Federation is a Leader in Delivering the Third Platform

As The Register’s Simon Sharwood uncovered, “Earlier this week, EMC seems to have formalised the existence of the Federation by popping up EMCFederation.com, featuring the spiffy logo below and explaining just how it operates. Perhaps the most revealing bit of the site is the ‘Investor Briefing,’ which articulates how the Federation’s members—EMC II, VMware, Pivotal and RSA—interoperate and collectively help business head for the emerging ‘3rd platform’ of mobile, cloud, big data and social.”

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More and more tech media journalists have recently followed Sharwood’s example—explaining IT’s future in terms of the 3rd Platform instead of using individual terms like big data. This 3rd Platform message has resonated throughout the keynotes, exhibits, and halls of EMC World. Industries and companies are being redefined as we enter a new era of IT, and there is a tremendous need to store data, analyze it, and build mobile, IoT, and analytical applications for billions of people. Of course, there is also the need to scale, and existing architectures don’t cost effectively support data or app scale. To get to the future state, many ingredients are required—more cost effective models of physical storage for the private cloud, software-defined data centers and storage, hybrid cloud infrastructures, data lakes built on Hadoop, and applications delivered via open source PaaS. The EMC Federation delivers these capabilities.

eWeek’s Chris Preimesberger probed further with the leadership team on how the Federation works, and Joe Tucci explained several keys to success—strategic alignment, coordinated messaging, account planning, and that, “Each of these businesses is free and encouraged to create the ecosystems they need, take their particular set of the technologies, and make sure they’re a winner in the market.” VMware CEO Pat Gelsinger called the Federation, “Tightly aligned, loosely coupled,” and explained how VMware can work with NetApp, an EMC rival, or Pivotal can work with Amazon, a rival of VMware.

3. EMC Big Data and VMware Hybrid Cloud Application Platforms are Powered by Pivotal

Tuesday’s Keynote by Paul Maritz explained how the different eras of technology have unfolded from mainframe to client-server to cloud. He explained how internet companies like Google and Facebook create value and called their innovations, “Post paper things—things with no existing paper equivalent,” advising that their advantage over existing companies was a technology platform that allowed them to cycle faster through application development, measurement, analysis, and improvement. Pivotal enables this faster cycle by providing the Cloud OS, data lake, and agile application development platforms—Pivotal HD’s HDFS runs on ViPR and Isilon while Pivotal CF runs on VMware’s vCloud Hybrid Service.

On the show floor, crowds have gathered at the EMC Big Data, Federation, Isilon, ViPR, VMware, and Pivotal booths to learn more about enabling the business data lake and running hybrid cloud applications.

For data, the Computer Week Application Developer Network captured the essence of the data lake—running Hadoop in the form of Pivotal HD, part of the Pivotal Big Data Suite:

“There is also something of interest here if we look at the suggestion that companies have huge ‘lakes’ of information that they will want to analyse and gain insights from, but much of that data will exist in multiple formats and so it becomes too costly to perform actions upon. The data lake then is a location where firms can store ‘practically unlimited’ amounts that exists in any format, schema and type. It is cheaper than previous notions of any data store and relatively inexpensive. It is, of course, also massively scalable.”

Computer Weekly Application Developer Network by Adrian Bridgwater

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To make this concrete, Pivotal VP Todd Paoletti explained in a recent Q&A, and the EMC Hadoop Starter Kit, ViPR Edition with Pivotal HD explains how companies can add Pivotal’s Hadoop distribution, Pivotal HD, to existing data storage investments. The white paper and video explain how to create a Hadoop analytics environment using Pivotal HD on EMC’s Isilon scale-out NAS for object/HDFS storage and using ViPR for software defined storage. ViPR 2.0 also allows companies to use data from EMC, 3rd party, or commodity storage to leverage existing investments like EMC VNX or NetAPp arrays and provides interfaces for Amazon S3, OpenStack Swift, and EMC Atmos/Elastic Cloud Storage as well as HDFS APIs. Together, these three products make it easier and more cost effective for companies to extend their existing data storage architectures into a data lake.

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As well, both The Register and ITBusinessEdge’s Datamation covered how Pivotal CF, powered by the open source Cloud Foundry project, will run on VMware’s vCloud Hybrid Service. However, for the developers building these applications, Pivotal’s SVP, Rob Mee, best articulated how this is the development platform agile developers have been waiting for:

“The vCloud Hybrid Service and Pivotal CF together marry all the elements that enable a truly agile environment for developers in any cloud environment. Pivotal CF provides the support for interoperability and portability across the secure, resilient cloud environments enabled by VMware’s vCloud Hybrid Service. The simplicity, speed and automation this brings will allow developers critical cycles to create and deploy new or existing applications at scale, in public cloud environments.”

In a final point of validation for Cloud Foundry, Datamation’s Jack Clark noted that the enthusiasm around Cloud Foundry, with big acronym names like IBM, HP, and SAP on board, is separating it from the pack and establishing it as a true leader. He goes as far to say, “By our count, that means Cloud Foundry should rise up on Google Compute Engine, Microsoft Azure, and—at a push—Rackspace and Joyent by the end of the year.”

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