Utility computing is compelling
Storage major EMC believes forging
partnerships and leveraging on combined strengths to
address the sticky issues with Storage, and penetrate
segments such as SME. With plenty of alliances on the
anvil, Tony Leung, Managing Director-Marketing, Asia
Pacific/Japan, EMC Corporation updates Venkatesh Ganesh
on EMCs new strategies and products
SMEs shy away from the complexities
of implementing networked storage. How have you tackled
this issue while pursuing the SME segment?
We have announced our partnership
with Dell in distributing the CLARiion AX 100 array.
We understand that modern day storage solutions can
sometimes get complex. The CLARiion AX 100 precisely
aims to reduce the complexity of implementing network
storage. The Dell/EMC AX 100 array is available in a
direct-attached SAN-ready configuration. We also have
a complete scalable SAN configuration too.
Our understanding in this space has
been that the availability and performance benefits
of networked storage are of utmost importance to the
SMEs. The complexity and high cost previously associated
with the technology, which deters small companies, is
addressed by the CLARiion AX 100. We took into account
these issues and decided to offer a cost-effective,
and easy-to-use solution. This can enable customers
to move from internal server-based disks to external
direct-attached storage (for both SAN and NAS environments).
What features in the new product
are most suited for the SMEs?
Firstly, the product (CLARiion AX
100) is based on an EMC patent-pending design and technology.
It is a customer-installable networked storage system
that is capable of storing up to 3 terabytes of information.
Besides, there are built-in functions that are easier
to manage and offer good protection. It incorporates
the RAID technologies from the CLARiion CX family and
delivers cost-effective ATA storage in a 3.5-inch rack-mountable
enclosure with integrated storage management. The storage
management functions range from monitoring local space-saving
snapshot replication (for instant backup and recovery)
to a user-friendly interface. The CLARiion AX 100 offers
a web-based interface for secure and remote management
of the system from any Internet connection.
SANs seem to be getting more complex.
How is EMC addressing the issue?
Yes, we do agree that SANs are getting
more complex. To address this need, we are developing
a storage router software that will use virtualization
technology. Basically, it will let customers migrate
data among the disk arrays in a storage area network
without shutting down or affecting the applications
using the data. In the initial stages, we are planning
to tailor the storage router for customers in large
enterprises who deal with bigger and complex SANs. As
this growth occurs, the tolerance for planned and unexpected
downtime of storage arrays shrinks.
We have partnered with switch vendor
Brocade Communications Systems and are looking at partnering
with Cisco too (at the time of going to press sources
within EMC are on the verge of announcing a tie-up with
Cisco). With this partnership, we plan to develop a
technology that builds intelligent storage routing capability
into the networking companies' switch fabrics. The result
will allow dynamic routing of data. EMC will work with
standards organizations to figure out the best way to
provide APIs, so that a storage router can work with
intelligent switch fabrics. Besides, this virtualization
will extend across all vendors.
Where does the concept of utility
computing stand today?
We feel that the concept of 'utility
computing' is compelling to say the least. From the
CIO perspective, they are trying to do a couple of things.
Firstly, they are trying to figure out whether it is
hype or reality. Secondly, does it apply for my business?
We feel that unlike the past 'big things' in technology,
this wave of innovation would not require corporations
to rip out existing technology and replace it with newer
and costlier software and hardware.
Instead, they can gradually add technologies
or services that make their computing systems more automated.
It is about a rip-and-replace approach, but one that
can incrementally move down the path of utility computing.
As a result, much of the cost and
complexity can be wrung out. The idea is that the power
plant-like computing systems of the future will operate
both at remote data centers and within a company's offices.
The idea of making information technology as easy as
plugging into an electrical socket would be the key
differentiating factor of this trend. Besides, the practical
implications of aligning business requirements with
IT and driving operational costs down would make this
We feel that more than the hype surrounding
utility computing, the key to explore this trend would
lie in its interpretation for everybody.
If you take an example of storage
management, there are so many messages that emanate
from different vendors that it gets the CIO confused
in trying to figure out the right solution for their
businesses. Even the CIOs understand that sometimes
the vendors' strategies are articulated only to apply
to their environments.
Customers can look at storage companies
to be their de facto storage management layer and weave
it around the utility computing layer. This would simplify
the existing complexity to a large extent.
What products are you launching
For the Indian market, we recently
announced a slew of products totaling more than twelve.
Along with this, we have innovations on the software
front, which extends across the entire range of EMC
tiered storage platforms. These new software offerings
are intended to enhance the backup, protection and recovery
These products are targeted at the
high-end and mid-tier SAN, NAS and CAS (Content Addressed
Storage) segments. For SAN, we have CLARiion CX series
and Symmetrix DMX-2 systems. In the NAS space, we have
introduced the Celerra NAS gateways and integrated systems
and to address the requirements in the content addressed
storage segment, we have Centera, a system that unlocks
the value of fixed-content digital assets stored in
In addition to this, EMC last year
announced a five year multi-million dollar investment
and are backing it up with the industry's comprehensive
and technically advanced storage software, platforms
and services. We can meet the needs of the mid-tier
storage market, which is one of the fastest growing
segments in India.
Identifying this need, we have established
partnerships with Dell and Datacraft (who are our global
patners too) and an Indian network of system integrators
like Wipro, Tata Elxsi and HCL.
The writer can be reached at