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EMC aims for "ease of use" at EMC World

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EMC's response is that a lot of the growth in the storage industry is happening at the low end of the market. "Small businesses don't want to tweak all the dials," said Barry Ader, senior director of Clariion marketing at EMC. "Usability helps us go down market into a space we historically couldn't reach."

There are ways EMC can make products easier to use other than hiding complexity with point-and-click wizards, such as making it easier for its products to work with each other and with other vendors' products. To that end, EMC is aggressively moving Avamar's data deduplication capabilities into some of its other products. Version 3.7 of Avamar now supports VMware Consolidated Backup, which EMC claims will reduce the backup times for virtual machines by as much as 90%. The software also supports Celerra NAS systems, and EMC has added new operating system and application support to Avamar for HP-UX, Mac OS platforms, and Oracle and IBM DB2 databases.

During a press conference at EMC World, Joseph M. Tucci, EMC's chairman, president and CEO, was asked how much EMC is spending this year to make its products work better with those from other vendors, as well as its own stable of products. While Tucci refused to say how much EMC will spend, saying it's "classified," he did say that "having a large user base is both a curse and a blessing. Everything we do has to work with everything we've done before. It takes a lot of time and money."

Richard Reitmeyer, EMC's

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chief software architect for information recovery management (who worked at Legato prior to its acquisition by EMC) said in a podcast recorded at EMC World that to improve usability, the company should integrate its products more tightly by developing suites of products out of the "vertical stovepipes" it now sells.

"[Our products] would be easier to deploy and easier to learn. We should start by grabbing the low-hanging fruit by unifying our fonts and icons between products," said Reitmeyer. "We can fix that; we should fix that."

--Rich Friedman, with additional reporting by Jo Maitland

This was first published in July 2007

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