EMC Embraces Security

Just one-third of the way through its largest product refresh ever, EMC is the latest storage vendor to get religion about security. The largest provider of storage hardware and software says it, too, will add security as a key component of its entire product line moving forward.

The move follows in the footsteps of Symantec's merger with Veritas and Network Appliance's planned acquisition of data-encryption vendor Decru, reflecting the growing need for storage and security to converge. EMC president and CEO Joe Tucci announced the plan at last month's annual strategy day in New York, presented to Wall Street and industry analysts.

"Information and security do go together; they are not separate," he said. "Customers are not asking us--they are demanding it."

EMC has already added encryption capability to its Dantz Retrospect backup software, and intends to do the same with the rest of its software lines and storage systems. Company officials are emphatic that EMC is not seeking a major acquisition partner, but hasn't ruled out smaller deals and partnerships.

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Recent losses of backup tapes by key banks, credit-card processors and government agencies, among others, potentially exposing the personal information of millions of people, have brought the issue of storage security to the forefront. EMC had to up the ante on security, notes equity analyst Daniel Renouard, of Milwaukee-based R.W. Baird.

"How they execute will be really hard," Renouard says.

In addition to security, EMC is seeing strong demand for its VMWare unit's server-virtualization software. After posting 93 percent growth last quarter, EMC is now a $400 million company.

"That's a tremendous opportunity," Tucci told analysts.

Another key area of emphasis will come from EMC's network-management subsidiary, Smarts, which it acquired in February. Using that company's network-monitoring technology and EMC's Documentum workflow engine, EMC plans to bolster its own Control Center Management console early next year. The revamped Control Center will add network analysis and workflow from both Smarts and Documentum.

Tucci says Smarts' tool collects data and events. It can tap into other data, build a model of how the various components are supposed to interact and take appropriate actions.

"It's going to give us magic," Tucci says.

As a result of its expanded strategy, EMC is fine-tuning its tagline, from that of an information life-cycle management (ILM) provider to an infrastructure-management company. The storage giant says it's not moving away from ILM--which accounts for 95 percent of its revenue--but rather that it is part of what EMC sees as a broader market encompassing not just the management of data, but the infrastructure that supports it.

Meanwhile, EMC has just refreshed the Symmetrix DMX line with its largest system to date, and has upgraded its flagship CLARiiON storage arrays as well. *