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EMC World Las Vegas 2016 wrapped up yesterday, leaving attendees with the metaphorical impression of EMC CEO Joe Tucci passing the baton to the new boss, Michael Dell.
Dell's acquisition of EMC has yet to close, but Tucci and Dell spent much of this week "trying to convince everybody that EMC won't change all that much, and if it does change, it'll be for the better," said Dave Raffo, senior news director of TechTarget's Storage Media Group.
"Probably the main thing that Michael Dell wanted to convince people is that the deal is real -- and [he] wanted to convince skeptics that it is actually going to happen, although there are still a few obstacles remaining," Raffo said, reflecting on EMC World Las Vegas 2016.
Michael Dell said the new company will be known as Dell Technologies, and the enterprise storage group within it will be called Dell EMC.
"The show will really be remembered for serving as a reminder that EMC is in transition, and it's a company that's about to change, maybe drastically," said Raffo.
David Floyer, co-founder and CEO at Wikibon, found the 2016 edition of EMC World to be the most interesting, as EMC seeks to "own infrastructure as a whole and not just the storage component of it."
"Clearly part of the merger is because EMC could not be in the race if it didn't go into servers as well. So, it's firmly into providing servers and storage and networking as part of the converged infrastructure," said Floyer. "And that sets it on a different course in many ways."
Scott Sinclair, a senior analyst at Enterprise Strategy Group, said he sensed, among all the innovation at EMC World Las Vegas 2016, that it represented "just a preamble to Dell Technologies."
Sinclair said that, although EMC refers to 2016 as the year of flash, he would argue that this is the year of the hybrid cloud and converged infrastructure, with its announcements around VxRack, Virtustream, and cloud-enabled technologies.
"EMC is taking a hard approach around how do we integrate with the cloud? How do we become a leader in driving toward cloud solution?" said Sinclair.
Transcript - Experts offer closing perspectives on EMC World Las Vegas 2016
Sliwa: Hi, I'm Carol Sliwa, a senior writer with TechTarget Storage sites, reporting from EMC World 2016. I'd like to leave you with some closing perspectives from my colleague, Dave Raffo, and from two industry analysts, Scott Sinclair of Enterprise Strategy Group and David Floyer of Wikibon.
Raffo: Hi, I'm Dave Raffo, the senior news director for TechTarget's Storage Media Group. And we're at the close of EMC World 2016. Like a lot of these vendor conferences, products and technology were a big part of the show this year and EMC certainly hit the three main areas of storage these days: flash, hyper-converged and cloud.
But this show will really be remembered for serving as a reminder that EMC is in transition and about to change, maybe drastically. The attendees got to say goodbye to Joe Tucci, they said hello to Michael Dell and saw Tucci and Dell together on stage at the Monday keynote. Tuesday, [Tucci and Dell] made an unscheduled appearance at the keynote, did interviews all week, which served to show everybody that this is a company in transition. It will change soon, there will be a new boss in town and the two of them spent much of the week trying to convince everybody that EMC won't change all that much, and if it does change, it will be for the better.
But a lot of people who came to the show this year came to get any clues of what this company is going to look like going forward. They got to see some products and they heard a lot about direction from the executives. But everybody is still holding their breath, still waiting. The main thing that Michael Dell wanted to convince skeptics is that the deal is real and it is actually going to happen, although there are still a few obstacles remaining.
But I think when people look back at the show this year, that's what they will remember: the transition. They will remember the dropping of the name Dell Technologies -- the first we've heard [that name] was Monday -- that's what the company will be called going forward. Dell EMC will be the enterprise storage and server group within that and the other EMC companies, Pivotal, RSA, of course VMware and Virtustream will remain, but they will be under a different leadership structure. So that's the main takeaway from the show this year.
Sinclair: Amongst all the innovation that we're seeing here at EMC World 2016, essentially there is a sense or feeling that this is just a preamble to Dell Technologies, the name of the new entity of both Dell and EMC once the merger or the acquisition goes through. On Monday we saw Michael Dell on stage with Joe Tucci and they hugged and that sets a stage for the future, the passing of the baton.
In terms of the innovation though that we're seeing, we're seeing a combination of things. EMC refers to this as "the year of flash." But I would actually argue that looking at the technology, this is the year of the hybrid cloud and converged for EMC with the announcement that they are making around VxRack, around Virtustream, around cloud-enabled everywhere. I think EMC is taking a hard approach around how do we integrate with the cloud, how do we become a leader in driving towards cloud solutions?
And while they are going to continue to embrace third-party public cloud solutions, by bringing Virtustream into the family, into the federation, that adds a new element to what the cloud can be. So then the next question is taking us back to this preamble, to what does it mean for both Dell and EMC when they are combined in Dell Technologies? Here at the show I've had a chance to talk to a lot of different customers and get their takes. And while our research at ESG shows a predominantly favorable viewpoint, with 75% of customers expecting their organizations to benefit, I see a combination of responses.
Some customers I talk to are very excited about the merger and the potential of it, while others that are more on some of the fringe technologies, wonder whether or not their technologies are still going to be within the family once new Dell Technologies take hold. And then extending this idea of what does the future look like, after talking to some EMC employees and looking at visions and roadmaps, there's a lot of optimism around the synergies of both Dell and EMC and what that can bring, which makes a tremendous amount of sense. That being said, it's always important to remember that these companies have tried to work together before and they have very different cultures.
Floyer: This EMC World has probably been the most interesting. There's a very broad range of things, but what has struck me as probably central to their strategy was the converged infrastructure announcements. Clearly part of the merger is because EMC could not be in the race if it didn't go into servers as well. So it's firmly into providing servers, storage and networking as part of converged infrastructure. And that sets it on a different course in many ways. Obviously at the moment its main convergence is with Vblock and with the Cisco servers, but announcements like VxRail are all around their integration with Intel. Now, the VxRail is really interesting for many reasons. First of all, it's an appliance. Secondly, it uses VSAN from VMware, it is purely VMware in its origin. It's focused on a lower end initial and then growing to quite significant potential size with the use of VSAN from VMware and use of VSAN clusters.
It is striking at a number of targets, including its own. A number of targets where VSAN will be a simpler, easier, appliance-only solution to providing high speed VMware. Part of it is a flash-only version of that. I think that is very indicative of where VMware is going in direct competition with HP, for example, together with Dell in direct competition with other server providers. So that's, to me, the most interesting aspect of the announcements.
Obviously there were other announcements about converged infrastructure with the Vblocks using the extreme IO in the Vblocks, using the VMAX all-flash array in the Vblocks, using the new Unity storage which looks very good indeed within the Vblocks, very cost competitive and again focusing on the all-flash architecture. So really a strong emphasis on that, very high growth rates within VCE and the potential to become a major player in that space. As I said, really wanting to own infrastructure as a whole and not just the storage component of it.