In a bid to fend off competitors offering all manner of storage products, EMC is trying to be all things to all customers, combining its Syncplicity cloud service with its Isilon and Atmos platforms to offer storage on-premises as well as the cloud. In theory, that combination will facilitate the syncing and sharing of data across multiple PCs and devices.
Many businesses rely on consumer applications (such as Dropbox) for data storage; although convenient, these platforms also pose major issues with regard to security and corporate data-handling policies. EMC argues that its new product gives those businesses a way to store data in the cloud while maintaining necessary administrative control; combined with Isilon (scale-out Network Attached Storage) and Atmos (object-based storage) for on-premises storage, it could meet the needs of those organizations with a lot of data to preserve across a widely dispersed network.
There are simply more options for storage—behind a firewall, fully in the cloud, and so on—while maintaining compliance and control.
EMC has become increasingly focused on its storage offerings, perhaps recognizing companies’ need to handle a rising tide of data. Earlier in January, it announced that it had completed the formation of a joint venture with Lenovo, under which the two firms will collaborate on co-branded Network Attached Storage (NAS) components.
Outside of storage, EMC is also making further inroads into Big Data and the cloud, working with its VMware subsidiary to spin out collective data-analytics and cloud applications into a separate entity known as the Pivotal Initiative, which will be headed by EMC chief strategy officer Paul Maritz. That process, which is expected to finish up in the second quarter of 2013, will involve resources and employees from EMC’s Greenplum and Pivotal Labs organizations; VMware will contribute its vFabric, Cloud Foundry and Cetas units.
EMC and its storage competitors also face the pressure of trying to make a healthy profit at a time when the overall storage market is weak. Research firm Gartner reported Dec. 13 that revenues in the storage market rose 3.6 percent to $5.3 billion during the third quarter, year-over-year—the weakest increase in seven quarters. In addition, third-quarter revenue was down sequentially compared to both the first and second quarters of 2012.
Roger Cox, the Gartner analyst who issued that report, largely blamed global macroeconomic pressures for the weak growth. Meanwhile, research firm IDC took a markedly rosier view. “The external disk storage system market continues to exhibit steady growth, posting solid third quarter factory revenues of just over $5.9 billion,” Liz Conner, IDC’s senior research analyst for storage systems, wrote in a Dec. 7 statement. “End users continue to invest in storage infrastructures despite persistent concerns surrounding global and regional economies. Helping to drive the worldwide market in the third quarter was the double-digit growth in multi-protocol storage architecture and strong demand for upper mid-range and high-end storage.”
No pressure, EMC and other storage vendors.