LAS VEGAS: Gone are the days – thankfully – when product launches were done once a year or so, and big-vendor events involved a massive data dump of things new and improved. It would be a struggle just to list all of the announcements, never mind provide any details or, more importantly, context.
In today’s 24x7x365 connected world, news is released as soon as possible, and while most of the important announcements at this week’s EMC World have already been covered, there were a number of others worth noting, including Syncplicity, VMware, Pivotal and SAP items. In addition, I’m including highlights of discussions with a number of EMC executives including Big Data, as well as with Mark Peters, Senior Analyst, Enterprise Strategy Group. My thanks to all the others, including many customers, who provided valuable insights during the event.
“Big Data is more about business transformation than technology,” said EMC’s resident Big Data boffin Bill Schmarzo, CTO, Enterprise Information Management & Analytics. It’s all about the four big “Ms”: “Make Me More Money!”
Money, or economics, is at the heart of Big Data, he said, driven in part by the tremendous reduction in the cost to store, manage and utilize data, “20-50x cheaper than it was just a few years ago. When you are dealing with that kind of change, it forces you to rethink how you do your key business processes.”
As critical as the data is, it’s the insights drawn from that data, and the people empowered to do so, that make it all work, said Schmarzo. “You don’t monetize data, you monetize insights.”
He adds that user experience is also important in taking those insights and metamorphosing businesses, moving from monitoring to optimizing. There are too many data sources, you have to prioritize. Schmarzo called it MoneyBall, identifying the ‘right’ metrics.
“EMC as a company is extremely pragmatic, not dogmatic,” said ESG’s Peters, talking about the company’s new focus on federation. “I think that’s why they’re now choosing to elevate the federation because if you buy into what appears to be happening in IT, convergence with a small c, and IT verging towards the utility model… the utility model demands convergence.”
However that begs the question, when does federation become corporation, he asked? “How long is it valuable to run a federation?”
Another – related — concern was the company’s overall focus “EMC likes to have money on every horse in the race. Ultimately, being in Las Vegas, we know that betting on every number is not the way to go.”
They’ve always done that successfully, said Peters. “That used to be for the customers, now they’re doing it for themselves with federation.”
I’ve spoken with EMC’s Jeetu Patel, VP and GM of the Syncplicity Business Unit, Information Intelligence Group, on multiple occasions, but this time I got to sit down with him to discuss the latest product updates and developments in the Enterprise File Sync and Share (EFSS) market. The biggest news was the http://bit.ly/1kQUXt2 Syncplicity Connector for SharePoint.
File sync and share is a crowded market, with approximately 1,000 vendors, said Patel. “What’s unique about Syncplicity is the implementation and how we make that (providing consumers with the features when and where they want them, and IT with the control they require) and happen.”
It’s all about getting users more productive while protecting the data, he said. “Enterprises wanted a solution that was as good as the consumer space, without having to make tradeoffs on security.”
Patel said there are three ways Syncplicity is materially different from the competition. First, most organizations love the concept of IT as a Service, but they hate sensitive data going into the cloud.
Syncplicity offers enterprises true choice because they can determine what data goes where, and when. They can go all on-prem, in the cloud or hybrid. “Most customers said if I had that, I would start deploying that at scale immediately.”
The second point of differentiation is the notion of no silos, of not having to rip and replace. Organizations have spent billions on systems and they’re looking for offerings that enable them to leverage their existing investments.
The third differentiator is that Syncplicity has successfully transitioned from its consumer roots to an enterprise-grade EFSS. “We found we’re one of the gold standards, if not the gold standard, in enterprise file sync and share.”
Patel had high expectations when he recommended EMC buy Syncplicity, but the growth has far surpassed their expectations. Both from a technology and go-to-market perspective it has been “massively successful”.
“EMC has a secret sauce that I think very few companies have… the ability to take an acquisition and accelerate the innovation… while giving it scale at the same time…” It’s happened time and time again — VMware, Isilon, Data Domain – and it’s still happening.
Coming out soon, the SharePoint Connector enables users to access and edit their SharePoint files using the Syncplicity app on their mobile device. Available today, StorageVault Authentication adds a customer-controlled layer of authentication that ensures the customer’s files are accessed by only customer-authorized individuals, without the complexity and overhead of managing encryption keys, and without impact to user experience.
Here are some of the other announcements – and comments — made this week:
VMware and SAP announced the general release of the SAP HANA platform on VMware vSphere 5.5 for production use. It is in production at EMC to run its SAP ERP system, and “have increased capacity of SAP HANA five times without growing headcount, are experiencing 99.9% uptime, can deploy new SAP HANA instances in minutes and are realizing significant OPEX and CAPEX reductions,” said Bill Reid, senior director, IT, EMC. “The SAP and VMware partnership is truly transformatives,” aid Pat Gelsinger, CEO, VMware.
Expected to be available this quarter, VMware vCloud Hybrid Service will support the latest release of Pivotal CF, the enterprise PaaS powered by the Cloud Foundry platform, empowering agile development teams to deploy applications in hybrid cloud in seconds, scale with a single command, and update without downtime. “Enterprise developers using vCloud Hybrid Service can leverage Pivotal CF to take advantage of the industry’s most powerful enterprise platform for building, deploying and scaling modern applications,” said Bill Fathers, SVP and GM, Hybrid Cloud Services Business Unit, VMware.
Based on open standards, InfoArchive, an application-agnostic archive product suite enabling customers to address large volumes of structured data, unstructured content, print streams, and xml – from a multitude of applications – at scale across the enterprise, is now GA. It is a unique archiving and information lifecycle management solution because it captures the information model for applications which may comprise of structured and unstructured data, and also helps organizations reduce risk and maintain regulatory compliance in complex application environments, said Rohit Ghai, Chief Operating Officer, Information Intelligence Group, EMC.
Information Intelligence Group has introduced its first industry-specific public cloud Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) solution, EMC Supplier Exchange, a third platform solution that extends Documentum based private cloud solutions to enable collaboration with the extended enterprise. With hundreds and even thousands of suppliers, extending the platform is difficult, said Gautam Desai, EMC IIG’ marketing head. “That’s (a hybrid solution) what our customers are asking for. None of them are ready to move to the 3rd platform.”
It’s all about allowing customers choice, public cloud, hybrid, on-premise, he said, working with the various parts of EMC, including Cloud Foundry, Pivotal and Syncplicity. “There’s a whole set of powerful things you can do… (O)ur technology helps you take action on the insights that are generated.”
EMC knows in the future people are not going to have just one cloud platform, said Desai, so integration, connectors is important. “Ultimately it’s not about what’s good for EMC, but what’s good for the customer”.
EMC’s revamped channel engagement model, Business Partner Program (BPP), unifies all partner programs under one umbrella program, including its federation of companies and VCE. “Trusted cloud service providers and proven systems integrators play a vital role for our customers’ IT transformation to the third platform,” stated EMC’s Terry Breen, SVP, Global Strategic Sales. “By adding a richer engagement model, we will jointly develop solutions with our partners to ensure success with our mutual customers.”
The last bit is from another source, but it’s a story I found of particular interest, that EMC and VMware have teamed up with Cisco-rival Arista Networks. As this was an EMC, as opposed to VMware, event, most everybody said nice things about their VCE data center convergence partner, but with VMware’s various software-defined data center and software-defined networking initiatives, we’re at the very least talking escalating co-opetition between the erstwhile partners, and possibly even grounds for divorce.
DISCLAIMER: EMC looked after airfare and accommodations, although I’m now technically out on the streets writing this event wrap-up.