EMC Sales Hit Record on Deduplication, Symmetrix Demand

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The rest of the economy may be slowly digging its way out of the Great Recession, but data storage giant EMC (NYSE: EMC) appears to have made a full recovery.

EMC today reported what CEO Joe Tucci called "the best first quarter in company history," eclipsing its earnings and sales totals from two years ago on strong high-end storage and deduplication sales.

EMC's first-quarter sales were $3.9 billion, up 23 percent from the year-ago quarter, and non-GAAP earnings hit $550 million, or 26 cents a share, up more than 60 percent from the year-ago quarter and better than Wall Street analysts expected. The storage networking leader ended the quarter with $10.2 billion in cash and investments.

U.S. sales grew 29 percent in the quarter, while revenues elsewhere were up 17 percent.

Tucci said in a statement, "Our private cloud strategy and focus on four multi-billion dollar markets -- each expected to experience rapid growth for many years to come -- are resonating very well with customers. We are confident in our ability to lead the next major wave of IT, maintain a long-term double-digit revenue growth rate and continue to take share."

CFO David Goulden said the company is seeing customers "move forward with increased confidence, focusing not only on cost-cutting initiatives, but beginning new innovative projects in their traditional and virtual data center infrastructures. This helped us clearly achieve the 'triple play' we projected last quarter by gaining market share while investing for the future and increasing profitability."

EMC's Information Infrastructure business -- which includes the company's storage, RSA Security, and Content Management and Archiving businesses -- reached $3.3 billion, up 22 percent.

High-end Symmetrix storage arrays grew 28 percent year-over-year. On a conference call with analysts this morning, Goulden declared the move to a new Symmetrix platform a success. "Our V-Max transition is essentially complete," he said.

Goulden also reported "double-digit penetration" for its new fully automated storage tiering (FAST) technology, which places data on solid state drives (SSDs) and hard drives based on how important the data is.

Merged Clariion, Celerra on the Way?

EMC's midrange sales -- which include Celerra, Clariion, Centera, Atmos, Data Domain and Avamar -- were up 32 percent.

In response to a question from Wedbush Morgan analyst Kaushik Roy, Tucci said a new midrange array -- possibly merging Clariion SAN and Celerra unified arrays and dubbed "V-CX" in early reports -- won't be coming this quarter and hasn't been named yet.

"I kind of like the name, but it will not be out in Q2," Tucci said.

Tucci also said on the call that users will see "more unified messaging" from the company and that "we are absolutely collapsing platforms."

Data Domain and Avamar deduplication products more than doubled their sales year-over-year.

VMware (NYSE: VMW), which is majority-owned by EMC, reported 34 percent first-quarter growth, reaching $632 million, much better than analysts expected.

EMC also raised its full-year-earnings and sales guidance.

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