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Analyze that: EMC

As part of our "Analyze that" series, storage analyst and Founder of the Enterprise Storage Group, Steve Duplessie dissects EMC. Steve looks at what EMC has done right this year, what products are carrying them and how storage managers should approach buying from them.

Also, be sure to join Steve at Storage Decisions 2003 in Chicago, September 10-12. At the conference you can participate in the "Rate the vendor" sessions and added presentations about how to create RFPs. This is a free conference if you qualify -- sign up here today.

Which products should EMC think about discontinuing?
EMC Data Manager will finally die, one of the slowest, most painful deaths in recorded history. Which of company EMC 's products do you think will still be around in 3 years?
Most likely Symmetrix and Clariion will both share all of the disk drives and enclosures. No more "monolithic" [storage systems]. What has EMC done this year to make themselves a stronger company?
Lifted weights. Better software, hired a lot of studs in management. Now let's see if the culture can get out of its own way. What direction is EMC headed? Do you think it's the right roadmap for their future success?
East. Far East. It's all about China these days. I like the software play, and think it's the right and only move long term. I need to see them make a dent in the Veritas juggernaut before we can start to call them successful. The Legato integration will be tough. They have all the pieces, now we need to see if the generals can move the troops to the right battle. Can you give a brief overview of EMC 's product line?
Sure, it's simple. They build small disk subsystems, medium disk subsystems, and gigantic disk subsystems. They provide services, and financing. They make and sell software that is subsystem-based, and host-based. They make software including volume management, replication, snapshot, Business Continuity Volumes, Storage Resource Management, Automated Resource Management, and a slew of other things. They sell the EMC ControlCenter framework to manage all the management software, so to speak. They own Legato, who makes backup/recovery software, replication, clustering, and archival software. They own Data General, but who the hell knows what they do. I think they may own a car wash or two as well, but I'm not sure. How should storage managers approach buying from EMC?
At the end of the day EMC has the most complete 'solutions' offering in the biz. If you need all the stuff, integrated, and supported, then it really just comes down to negotiating the right price for you. If you only need piece parts, you need to look at the entire landscape. There are great technologies both inside and outside of EMC. I don't see the answers getting easier for users any time soon. They still have to do lots of homework. Price is a key ingredient, but not the only one. Cheap crap is still crap. The trick is to get the right stuff at the best price you can.

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Who or what do you see as EMC 's biggest threat?
Business is different. They have the potential to get in trouble by going against what made them great, namely, the company thrived by not having the best stuff - it had the best understanding of the market and how to sell and market to it. Now it arguably has the best stuff, but the market dynamics have changed, and we need to see if it can grasp those changes and alter its sales and marketing accordingly. For example, it has yet to prove it can sell open systems software. The old days, albeit good old days, are in the past. The future is different, so I'm hoping they can make the necessary transition.

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