EMC Unloads Both Barrels for Product Refresh Page 2


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Tucci Answers the Question

EMC President and CEO Joseph Tucci also addressed the question Monday in a conference call to unveil the new products.

"Some people look at the software companies we've acquired recently and asked me: 'Is EMC becoming a software company?' My answer is always the same. First, I point out that EMC is squarely focused on storage and information management. And we aim to have the best hardware and software and services to help our customers tie it all together."

The products were across-the-board upgrades, a first in the more than 20-year history of the company. Tucci pointed out that the company spent 11.5 percent of its revenues on research and development to accelerate the company's innovation cycle.

It seems to have paid dividends. While EMC had previously featured product cycles in the 24- to 36-month range, Tucci said that time is now down to 12 to 18 months in an attempt to leapfrog past rivals IBM , Hitachi Data Systems , HP , and others in the storage market.

For example, DMX-2 came out about a year after the original release, while the new mid-range CLARiiON CX 300, 500, and 700 boxes appeared 18 months after the original CLARiiONS, all boasting more performance at the same price as the CX 200, 400, and 600 predecessors, which the new boxes will replace. Moreover, Tucci promised to deliver low-end CX machines some time this year.

ESG's Gerr describes the new products as having "all the power of a Hummer and the speed of a Ferrari," but argues that customers are less interested in "speeds and feeds claims" than they are in real-world response time, including reliability and availability to respond to significant changes in their environments.

"EMC has shown the ability to create a system that not only puts up with requests but that handles spikes in performance requirements," Gerr told internetnews.com. "And they've made it much easier to upgrade. You have to take the system down to upgrade, but it's up again in a matter of minutes versus days associated with a significant overhaul."

All of these details may make EMC an attractive choice in a competitive market.

"Over the past couple of years, systems vendors like IBM, Sun Microsystems, and HP have insisted that customers buy storage as part of larger systems offering," King told internetnews.com. "EMC has made a very convincing argument that innovation continues to come from specialists."

Still, while such products are tailored to give EMC an edge, Sageza's King found EMC's standards news to be of greatest interest. EMC said Symmetrix and Symmetrix DMX systems shipped since 1997 and CLARiiON and CLARiiON CX systems shipped since 2000 can now be managed by software based on the SNIA's Storage Management Interface Specification (SMI-S), a schema to promote interoperability among disparate storage networks.

"It would be foolish at this point to award any vendor a gold star for their SMI-S efforts, but if EMC should succeed, the company's newly refreshed and united product line could provide a powerful lure to storage customers and a powerful obstacle to EMC's competitors," King said in a research note.

Analysis courtesy of internetnews.com.

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