Q&A: EMC's Mark Lewis, EVP of Open Software


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To say mergers and acquisitions (M&A) and strategic activity in the storage space are heating up is a gross understatement, especially when the conversation involves EMC .

The Hopkinton, Mass.-based company has unleashed a flurry of news recently regarding its new push for information lifecycle management (ILM), which is perhaps the hottest phrase uttered since Web services lit up the high-tech skyline a few years ago.

Once known as one of the largest proprietors of storage hardware for Fortune 2000 companies, the vendor has drilled down into a different software layer by first making a serious acquisition in ILM specialist Legato Systems for $1.3 billion and next making a $1.7 billion run at one of the largest enterprise content management software players in Documentum.

Throughout these M&A maneuvers, which also includes the purchase of BMC Software's storage management assets, EMC has been pounding the table for software standards, casting aside its company-centric WideSky initiative to ingratiate itself with the Storage Management Initiative specification (SMI-S), an in-progress schema geared to make storage products from multiple vendors interoperable.

The moves have prompted several analysts to quip that EMC is a proprietary hardware company, but an open software company.

At the center of all the recent action is EMC Executive Vice President of Open Software Operations Mark Lewis. Lewis, who reports directly to President and CEO Joe Tucci as one of a cadre of executive VPs, is responsible for making sure the integration of the large software purchases runs on well-oiled wheels.

Lewis defected from HP last year to become the EMC's CTO. He was elevated to his current position in May.

To say that Lewis is a busy man is also an understatement: on the day EMC closed the Legato deal, he presented an integration path that shows how the company's many layers will work to form a complete information management solution. Less than a week later, he presented a more complete integration strategy at the Fall Storage Network Show in Orlando that factored in the assets of Documentum, assuming its bid will be successful.

Internetnews.com recently caught up with Lewis to chat about adding software to make the ILM formula work, how EMC measures the competition, and the direction of the company.

Q: On May 30, EMC announced you'd be moving into a different position as executive vice president of Open Software Operations, working under Joe Tucci. How did your previous employment at HP help prepare you for this role?

Moving in as CTO was one of the first strategic and staff roles I've ever had. So, interestingly enough, it was a great way to come into EMC and do something that was actually different for me and fun to do. But coming back into running the software business is really more to my roots and my training, and what I've done with the rest of my career, which is running businesses. I started the software business for Compaq and then ran storage for Compaq. I'd say this is closer to what I've done in the past.

Page 2: Interview with EMC's Mark Lewis (Continued)

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