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EMC CEO Prescribes Cloud For IT Pain Relief

Private and public clouds were front and center at EMC World, but Joe Tucci's keynote address lacked detail about how clouds will ease IT pain.
Budget dilemmas, data deluge, and security are the three biggest pain points facing organizations today, according to EMC chairman, president, and CEO Joe Tucci.

The cure? Private and public clouds.

Tucci's remarks came during his opening keynote at EMC World 2011 in Las Vegas. Private and public clouds have been an ongoing theme of EMC World gatherings, but it's not always clear whether--or how--clouds will ease IT pain.

On the budget front, Tucci noted the oft-cited figure that three quarters of IT spending is dedicated to maintenance of apps and infrastructure. That leaves just 25% of the budget for IT to drive competitive advantages, improve efficiency, and better serve internal customers. As for data deluge, he cited a forthcoming IDC report that says the digital universe will consist of 35 zetabytes of data by 2020--that's 35 billion trillion bytes. IT organizations need to manage and protect that data, as well as mine and analyze it to extract value.

In regards to security, Tucci said security is the top of mind for executives. "If you go to any board, this is the number one issue on board members' IT concerns," said Tucci. A survey from InformationWeek Analytics backs up Tucci's comments. The survey found rising interest in security from CEOs and other executives, including increased executive attention around security policy and spending. Tucci did not make reference to the recent security troubles of EMC's RSA division, which suffered an intrusion of its SecureID system.

So how will the cloud address these pain points? The cloud can certainly play a role on the budget front. For instance, IT can tap SaaS applications rather than build and deploy their own. The SaaS model cuts capital expenses and lets IT outsource operational tasks, such as provisioning hardware, patching OSs, and powering and cooling servers, to the provider.

Meanwhile, the goal of private clouds--integrated, virtualized network, computer, and storage systems--is to automate the provisioning of IT systems and make resources available to internal customers more quickly. However, private cloud deployment is still in its infancy, and has yet to prove whether it will dramatically affect the 75/25 budget model cited by Tucci.

As for security, most IT professionals would say that cloud security is its own problem to be solved, rather than one that ameliorates current security concerns inside the enterprise. According to InformationWeek Analytics' 2011 Cloud Computing survey, security tops IT concerns with cloud computing. For example, the top concern with cloud computing is security defects in cloud technology, according to 53% of respondents. Security also outranked performance and business continuity issues, according to our survey.