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Today was the first day of EMC World 2016 in Las Vegas, NV. Neuralytix believes there were three main topics that were covered: the impending merger with Dell, the announcement of new storage products, and the release of MyService360.

Dell EMC Merger

Obviously the elephant in the room this year was the impending merger between Dell and EMC. This is one of the largest technology mergers in history and will reshape both companies. As the transaction has not yet closed, EMC was unable to comment on many of the details of the transaction. However, they were able to discuss the motivations behind it and some of the market implications.

As converged systems and cloud infrastructure become more pervasive, the combination of Dell’s compute capabilities and EMC’s storage and software capabilities will provide the combined company with the tools to compete in the evolving market. So, from a simple product perspective, this merger makes sense, however, historically Dell has excelled in the high volume, transactional SMB segment of the market, while EMC traditionally been much more successful in the high touch, high margin enterprise market. To address the differences in the cultures, Dell plans on creating two separate businesses. The end user computing business, that relies on high volume, low margin transaction sales will be based in Austin; while the enterprise business, which requires higher touch and longer sales cycles will be based in Boston. Both business will report directly to Michael Dell.

Neuralytix believes that this is the only approach that can be successful for Dell and EMC. The reason for this is the culture clash. One of the most difficult aspects to manage during a large acquisition in the various corporate cultures. By separating the two businesses, Dell and EMC can maintain the cultures that are the most appropriate for the respective markets. Different performance metrics can be employed for each business. Neuralytix also believes that EMC’s previous experience with operating disparate business units will prove to be valuable in the integration.

Storage Announcements

In addition to the discussion of the merger, EMC provided an update on the evolution and strategy for their data center portfolio. EMC’s strategy for the modern datacenter is founded on four key elements: flash, cloud enablement, scale-out, and software-defined.

EMC announced several new storage offerings:

  • Unity
  • EMC Enterprise Copy Data Management
  • ViPR 3.0 Controller
  • Virtustream Storage Cloud

Unity: With a laser focus on flash, EMC announced Unity, a midrange 2U all flash array. Unity will support block, file, and VMware VVols. Starting at under US$20,000, Unity can scale from 25 drives to 1,000 drives, providing up to 3PB of storage. EMC was clear to state that this will be a volume product. With the pending acquisition with Dell and the new types of customers that the acquisition will bring, namely SMB and midmarket customers, Neuralytix believes that this product was designed to address that market in mind. Neuralytix believes that the new Unity storage product will have a great impact on those customers who wanted to buy EMC, but felt that it is price prohibitive. Additionally, at the price point that EMC is promising for Unity, it allows EMC to compete with startup all flash vendors, as well as hybrid storage vendors.

EMC Enterprise Copy Data Management: EMC’s enterprise copy data management capabilities not only manages secondary, or archived data, but will now keep track of primary copies to optimize the number of copies of data that is kept by customers. This way, customers can align their business objectives with the redundancy that meets corporate and regulatory compliance.

ViPR 3.0 Controller: To meet the scale-out and software-defined needs of the modern datacenter, EMC announced that ViPR 3.0, its software-defined storage (SDS) controller will now allow any third-party array to be supported using its new software development kit (SDK). Neuralytix believes that broader support of third-party storage arrays better reflects the ideals of what SDS is designed to do.

Virtustream Storage Cloud: As cloud enablement is a key element to EMC’s vision of the modern datacenter, EMC announced the Virtustream Storage Cloud, which is a hyperscale object store, built using its Elastic Cloud Storage (ECS). This will allow customers to backup to an enterprise grade cloud; as well as providing capabilities such as archiving to an enterprise grade cloud.

Overall, Neuralytix believes these announcements align very well with its merger with Dell, and expect that these capabilities will be attractive to Dell’s customer base.

MyService360

In many cases the success or failure of enterprise technology solutions is dependent on the services the vendor chooses to wrap around the products. Enterprise IT products and data centers are highly complex and require a considerable amount of maintenance and ongoing support. The introduction of MyService360, which is included with any current maintenance contract, attempts to provide customers with a simpler way to monitor and support the EMC infrastructure. While this is not a new concept in tech support, Neuralytix believes this offering has 2 main advantage. The first is the software does not need to be installed in the customer’s infrastructure. This is an advantage as the installation of yet another support and management tool is not something that most customers are interested in undertaking. The second advantage is the tool looks like it is easy to use and configure. Tools that are difficult to use and configure are often not deployed as widely throughout the customer base.

Conclusion

In closing, Neuralytix was pleased with the announcements that EMC made today. However, given that they could not discuss many of the pressing questions regarding the upcoming acquisition, what they were able to discuss showed that they were starting down a positive path. Only time will tell if they are able to continue in that direction.

 

Ben Woo contributed to this Insight.