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1/18/2011
01:45 PM
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EMC 'Doubles-Down' On Storage

A series of product launches highlights the seemingly insatiable hunger for enterprise storage.

Enterprise storage giant EMC unleashed a series of product announcements on Tuesday in response to storage demands driven by cloud computing.

In conjunction with launch of over 40 new storage products, company executives are hosting several days of press events on three different continents, complete with performers attempting to break storage-oriented records for Guinness World Records.

The drama from storage stalwart EMC serves to underscore that the company is doubling-down on its core franchise, said EMC chairman and CEO Joe Tucci.

In a video, Steve Duplessie, senior analyst at the Enterprise Strategy Group, explained the broad interest in enterprise storage is a function of increasing data creation.

"Data growth has always been the driver," said Duplessie. "Unless we think we're going to stop creating data at the same rate -- which, let's face it, we're not -- it's going to accelerate. … This treadmill that we're on is going to keep speeding up."

Investors appear to be thinking along similar lines. The company's stock reached an all-time high on Tuesday of $24.95 per share.

Investor confidence in EMC coincided with the introduction of the company's new EMC VNXEe unified storage system for the small- and medium-sized business market. The systems start at under $10,000 and emphasize simple set-up and management.

The company's CLARiiON storage area network (SAN) and Celerra network attached storage (NAS) systems have been consolidated under the EMC VNX brand.

EMC also released new EMC Symmetric VMAX storage array software. Capable of supporting petabytes of data and as many as 5 million virtual machines, the software adds fully automated storage tiering (FAST), and new federation, security, and virtualization features.

The company claims that its new Data Domain deduplication storage systems are either seven or eight times faster than competing backup solutions.

With EMC president of information infrastructure products Pat Gelsinger promising that product storage capacities will soon be measured in zettabytes rather than petabytes and over 1600 search results on its job listing site, storage capacities and market demand seem destined for further growth.

EMC's introduction of 41 new storage products may put pressure on NetApp, which currently owns about a quarter of the SMB storage market. But NetApp is dismissing EMC's move. In a blog post, Mike Riley, NetApps's director of technology and strategy for sales in the Americas, ridiculed EMC's big show as nothing more than a standardization of the bezels that frame its products.

"I didn't see anything of note in the Unified Bezel announcement -- no new advancements and not a lot of sweat equity went into it at all," he wrote. "Heck, if EMC can't put a lot of thought behind the 'e' in VNXe, I'm not sure the whole attention to detail thing was really present during this latest 'Just Like NetApp' attempt."

Riley contends that EMC's middle-of-the-road approach doesn't work. "No one wants their data 'sort of' fast and 'sort of' cheap," he explained in a follow-up comment to his post. "When they want it, they want it fast. When they don't, they want it stored in the most inexpensive way possible."

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