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Information Infrastructure Comes into Focus
In lock step with the messaging at EMC World in May, the "information infrastructure" tag line was again in heavy usage at the EMC Forum. This time, though, the real meaning came more sharply into focus.
EMC sees itself as the backend of choice for the next-generation virtual data center. Linda Connly, EMC's chief of staff and sales strategy, trotted out the math: 72 percent of current IT time is spent on maintaining applications and the underlying infrastructure. That leaves about 23 percent for application development and implementation and 5 percent for infrastructure deployment effectively a 70/30 ratio between plumbing and new technology build-out.
"Our vision is to reverse this ratio and have 70 percent of the time for infrastructure/application deployment by reducing the cost of keeping the lights on," said Connly. "Our alliance with Cisco and VMware is a means of getting rid of all that plumbing by building out the private cloud."
Far from talking the talk and leaving users to iron out the kinks, EMC is rolling this out internally. Connly said that EMC is already about 50 percent virtualized in terms of its own applications. All of its Web sites, for example, are virtualized. And as the fifth largest global deployment of Oracle (NASDAQ: ORCL), it plans to virtualize that application next along with Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) Exchange.
Eventually, EMC plans to be 100 percent virtualized, which will include the integration of external SaaS and cloud-based applications such as Salesforce.com (NYSE: CRM) and AmEx Travel into a virtual data center composed of a federated cloud, with clouds from external service providers and internal clouds within EMC melded together into a fully controlled and managed private cloud.
"It will be possible to move workloads from external to internal clouds while staying secure," said Connly.
She stressed that this was much more than just "marketecture," or so much marketing verbiage. All members of the VMware-Cisco-EMC (VCE) alliance, she said, had aligned their respective visions strategically around achieving this goal. Hence, the integrated "stack in a rack," joint support functions and more to come.
"Our big bets for the future are on the virtual data center, deduplication, cloud computing and virtualized clients," said Connly.
FAST Coming in December
Finally, a note on Fully Automated Storage Tiering (FAST): Lou Przystas, a senior advisory consultant at EMC's corporate executive briefing center, revealed that the much-touted FAST will have its first release in December. This will provide LUN-level movement of data between tiers composed of different drive technologies (SATA/SAS, SSD, Fibre Channel). While this is a slight improvement in what current Symmetrix users can do in terms of automated data movement, the full-fledged FAST with sub-LUN capability isn't scheduled to come out till next year.
"FAST is like an intelligent policy engine that looks at applications, data usage patterns and moves data among storage tiers automatically based upon SLAs," said Przystas. "By May of next year, we will release sub-LUN level FAST. Eventually, this will make its way from Symmetrix V-Max into other storage platforms."
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