EMC's Tucci sees hybrid cloud becoming de facto standard

EMC has spent $10.5B on internal R&D over the past eight years

LAS VEGAS -- As far as EMC CEO Joe Tucci is concerned, the future of his company is the hybrid cloud and big data analytics.

Speaking to about 6,000 user customers and several reseller partners at the company's annual user conference, Tucci said corporate data is growing at "staggering" rates, and 90 per cent of it is unstructured - files, photos, video, email or social networking communications. Adding to that growth are the variety of data types now in use, the way data is being managed and the number of devices being used by corporate employees, including tablets and smart phones.

Tucci pointed to new open-source web application frameworks that are changing the way data is created and accessed, such as Ruby on Rails, Spring and Python.

"The customer with the winning model is going to be both moving the internal infrastructure to [x86 server-based] private clouds and federating that with a public service partner," he said.

Over the past eight years, EMC has spent $10.5 billion on internal research and development and $14 billion on mergers and acquisitions, a majority of that toward building out a cloud strategy with companies like VMware, RSA, Data Domain, Greenplum and Isilon Systems.

"We're assembling best-of-breed technology, people and partners to help customers to access the cloud and big their data assets," he said. "I've been doing this for 40 years ..., [and] I've ... seen infrastructure, applications and end user devices change -- but never all at same time."

EMC's vision for addressing the deluge of worldwide corporate data, which amounts to zettabytes annually, involves the use of VMware to virtualize the server infrastructure, highly resilient arrays and "cloud" clustered storage systems, and semi-structured and unstructured data analytics to mine useable information.

Quoting figures from research firm Gartner, Tucci said 35 per cent of companies were implementing private clouds in 2010 and 30 per cent more will roll them out in 2011. Unable to compete against traditional database providers such as IBM, Oracle and Microsoft because they are "established" players, EMC will target semi-structured and unstructured data with its storage and analytics products. For example, EMC has unveiled a new Hadoop Distributed File System and its Greenplum data analytics database.

"The database world will change dramatically," he said. "It's all about getting real-time information to make your life better [and] make your company more competitive."

If data can't be mined for its value, it shouldn't be stored, he said. To that end, EMC is training and certifying "data scientists" for its customers. A data scientist would spend his or her time determining the value of a corporation's data.

And, all of that will be protected by EMC's RSA security software, he said.

"This is the number one issue [for corporate] board members concerned with IT -- the security of information," he said. "So the key is going to be 'can I trust this cloud computing' be it private, public or hybrid. We're making sure can verify identities."

Lucas Mearian covers storage, disaster recovery and business continuity, financial services infrastructure and health care IT for Computerworld. Follow Lucas on Twitter at @lucasmearian or subscribe to Lucas's RSS feed. His e-mail address is lmearian@computerworld.com.

Read more about cloud computing in Computerworld's Cloud Computing Topic Center.

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Lucas Mearian

Computerworld (US)

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