Big data represents one of the biggest, most transformative technology opportunities for business in at least a decade, and it's at the intersection of big data and cloud computing where EMC is looking to position itself and maximize value as a provider of storage and infrastructure.
That was the message from two of the storage giant's top executives, CEO Joe Tucci and Executive Vice President, Product Operations and Marketing Jeremy Burton, who addressed thousands at Oracle OpenWorld in San Francisco Tuesday and talked up EMC and Oracle's 17-year partnership and the fact that they share some 70,000 customers around the world.
Both Tucci and Burton urged Oracle partners and customers to think beyond databases and the purview they have with Oracle and look at ways to harness the big data trend. According to EMC, the so-called "software-defined data center" -- in which state-of-the-art software orchestrates a business' virtualized storage, server, networking and compute resources -- is the strategy for driving better performances from those resources without dramatically increasing costs.
"The intersection of cloud and big data has opportunity for each and every one of you," Tucci said.
"The magic is in the software," added Burton. "[The idea] is to deliver performance without killing yourself on cost per gigabyte. If you design the software properly, you can do it."
EMC's PCIe flash storage product, VFCache, is one such example, said Burton. And, another big example will be EMC's so-called "Project X," a much rumored all-flash array that's under development following EMC's May 2012 acquisition of Israeli startup XtremIO.
"The beauty of this project is that we can start to rethink the storage array from first principles," Burton said. "Think about a storage array designed specifically for flash."
It's big data that will drive a lot of change in the industry, even if many enterprises don't yet know it. According to Tucci, most companies focus on structured data today, when it's the ability to wrangle unstructured data -- mine it, organize it, store it, analyze it -- that provides enormous value.
"Every single industry will use this to change their business," Tucci said.
"One of the big issues in the adoption is not necessarily technology, but understanding," added Burton, who talked up EMC's recent "Human Face of Big Data" campaign as a way in which EMC was trying to help enterprise customers understand the big data opportunity in practical terms.
Watch for EMC to continue to invest in software and put R&D, sales and marketing muscle behind major efforts focused on big data, cloud, orchestration tools and even social media. EMC's Greenplum Chorus, which Burton demonstrated onstage at OpenWorld, provides customers a way to analyze the dense and unpredictable data patterns coming from social media interactions.
The big data opportunity can't be overstated, Burton said, especially after a decade of standardizing, consolidating and "trying to smash down costs."
PUBLISHED OCT. 2, 2012