The cloud is threatening to disrupt how IT is managed, but that just means opportunities for those who move to embrace the change, according to EMC's top executive.
Joe Tucci, chairman and CEO of EMC, used his opening keynote at EMC World, held this week in Las Vegas, to tell an audience of 6,000-plus EMC customers and 1,000-plus partners that 2011 will be a pivotal year in terms of business adoption of cloud computing.
2011 is the year when most if not all applications get virtualized, when people realize that cloud and big data are coming together, and when people realize the cloud will provide them maximum control and agility in their business, Tucci said.
"These waves of change create more opportunities than disruption if you are willing to go with them," he said.
Tucci said that customers are facing three primary pain points which can be addressed over time with cloud computing.
The first is the budget dilemma, where 73 percent of the IT budget goes to maintaining existing infrastructures and only 27 percent goes to a company's competitive advantages.
The second is data deluge, as the size of the universe of digital data expands from 1.2 zetabytes in 2010 to 35 zetabytes by 2020, Tucci said. About 90 percent of new data being created is unstructured data, and about 300 quadrillion files are expected to be created in 2011, he said. At the same time, IT staffs are expected to grow by only 47 percent, he said.
The third is security, where 88 percent of Fortune 500 companies reported botnet activity and 60 percent of Fortune 500 companies reported malware attacks through e-mails in 2010, Tucci said.
Addressing these issues will require more efficiency, choice, and control of companies' IT infrastructure, Tucci said. "And what addresses these pain points?" he said. "It's the cloud. And more specifically, to address efficiency, choice, and control, the answer is the hybrid cloud."
The cloud has become a huge disruptive technology in part because of customer moves to adopt both private and public clouds and the need to balance performance across both, Tucci said.
Also, customers are moving to transform their applications to run on virtual machines in clouds. "New applications are mostly being built in (cloud) frameworks (and) are much more intrinsic with and work within clouds," he said.
Businesses are also having to deal with the increasing diversity of devices being used to access the cloud, particularly from employees who insist on being able to chose their own device, Tucci said.
"I've never seen in my 40 years (in IT) infrastructure transformations, application transformations, and user transformations going on at the same time," he said.
EMC is dealing with these changes on a number of fronts. For instance, Tucci said, the company is using its VMAX enterprise storage and VNX SMB storage with applications like Documentum to manage content on the cloud, and doing more to tie new technologies like its Isilon scale-out NAS or Atmos cloud-based storage offerings to big data apps, which require massive scalability and real-time access.
EMC is also using its RSA security technology and its Ionix management technology to protect data moving across hybrid clouds, and is using its recent Greenplum data analytics technology to improve the intelligence that can be gleaned from data, he said.
VMware also plays a big role in security on the cloud, as such technologies from that company such as vShield and vEdge can help gain insight into data as it moves between public and private clouds, Tucci said.
"We believe hybrid cloud computing can be even more secure than in the physical world," he said.