EMC's Sorenson Talks Legato, Documentum, Information Life-Cycle Management

In one of his first interviews with the press since leaving Hewlett-Packard to join EMC, Mark Sorenson, senior vice president at the storage vendor, talked with Senior Editor Joseph Kovar about his company's Legato and Documentum acquisitions and how they fit into its information life-cycle vision.

CRN: What have you been doing since you joined EMC?

Sorenson: I ran an area we called information access and recovery. It was the EMC legacy backup product called EDM [Enterprise Data Manager], some replication management technology, file movement and placement [software], and HSM [hierarchical storage management] products. . . .

All of those components are very similar to, or complementary to, products that Legato brings to the table. [Legato had] a backup product, NetWorker, as we did. They had data movement technologies. And they were moving into replication management that would augment and complement their backup business. So that piece I had around data management fit really well with the Legato piece.

[However], NetWorker has substantially more market share and market acceptance, and we've selected NetWorker as EMC's and Legato's premier information protection product. We will be phasing out EDM over time.

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CRN: So what happens to EDM?

Sorenson: We are providing a very safe and soft landing for EDM customers to NetWorker by moving [its] unique features in terms of Symmetrix to NetWorker. We are also exchanging their current EDM licenses for NetWorker licenses at no additional cost. . . .

Customer investment protection is extremely important to us. We have a plan in place where we will continue to support EDM through 2007. I expect we will stop selling it in a year.

CRN: What is the Legato road map?

Sorenson: As you look at the road map for the combined company, there's extraordinarily little overlap. Legato has a tremendous amount of products that provide e-mail data management as well as well as the ability to adhere to the variety of emerging compliance issues around [the] Sarbanes-Oxley [Act of 2002] or things of that nature. So all those products will continue.

[Legato also] has some products around availability, including a host-based replication management product. Those products continue. Its HSM products continue going forward, and we'll look for some opportunities to converge some products there.

CRN: Is the Legato portion of the company going to be called Legato?

Sorenson: It's called Legato Software, a division of EMC. That's how we position this. It's not a legal entity. It's an organizational structure to keep it separate from the rest of EMC, with some similarities to the IBM Tivoli model.

Of course, we want to keep our sales forces separate because we remain committed to selling open software on anyone's platforms. And interestingly enough, we're seeing our [Legato] partnerships with some of our sometimes competitors continue to go forward. We reaffirmed our partnerships with Sun and Hewlett-Packard, and prior to the close, we actually signed a new agreement with IBM to resell Legato's e-mail products. . . .

We'll keep [our] sales forces separate. The Legato sales force cannot sell EMC hardware. They're not compensated in any way, shape or form for selling EMC hardware. The EMC sales reps cannot quote Legato software. Certainly, we want them to seek out opportunities around Legato software. However, if they need to close a deal with that software, they do it either by bringing in a Legato sales rep or a Legato channel partner.

What's important in the message to our customers is, they way they buy their software from Legato will not change unless they want it to. We certainly expect some of the large global corporations that have an EMC account manager to perhaps ask [that manager] to pick up the ball and coordinate the entire sales process and to seek new ways to integrate our products together, whether it's EmailXtender and Centera, or NetWorker's disk-to-disk backup capability with Clariion's ATA disk. We'll be seeing more solution selling. But we're walking a fine balance, and we spent an awful long time with customers, channel partners, and sales forces to design this to be as effective as possible for our customers, ourselves, and our channel partners.

CRN: From the EMC side, what goes to Legato besides EDM?

Sorenson: The good news is those [EDM] people bring more knowledge, more bandwidth, to the NetWorker team, so we end up with a stronger NetWorker.

We also have a product called Replication Manager. Replication Manager sits in front of various replication technologies--whether it's snapshotting or wide-area remote replication technologies--to facilitate the taking of replicas, and managing those in a policy-based manner. That moves over because it helps when combined with backup. So you can imagine a scenario where I can take a snapshot every hour, and then I call NetWorker at midnight to use one of those snapshots as a target for backup so I can get a tape copy as well.

Strategically, we're seeing the convergence of backup and replication. ... They're both making a copy of some data. One makes a copy very quickly to disk, and the other makes a copy very slowly to tape. We can blend them together.

It gives us an advantage against competitors who seem to be proud of only having software, with their "no hardware" moniker, when in fact we're able to provide complete solutions.

CRN: What software is EMC not making part of the Legato team?

Sorenson: We divide software into some distinct buckets. One is pure infrastructure software. These include multipathing software, device management, technologies which are very closely associated with storage arrays. It doesn't make sense for that to move into the Legato division. . . .

Another bucket of software is around storage management, like our ControlCenter family.

Another bucket is around the management of devices, of capacity, of being able to monitor the performance of storage arrays, and it's really concerned with storage and blocks and devices.

The next bucket is around what the industry calls data management. And that's where Legato fits. Data management is not concerned with devices. It's concerned with the data and the information. The backup technologies, the e-mail and messaging technologies, intelligent data movement, HSM technologies.

So think of the chunks. You've got infrastructure software, you've got storage management software, now with Legato you bring data management software. The next obvious leap there goes to content management, where we bring in the Documentum play.

This is all about delivering the vision we call information life-cycle management. [That] vision and story is really about information. In terms of storage management and some of the infrastructure stuff, we've got that one pretty much knocked. [As we move up the chain], it's more concerned about information. And that's where we make the leap to Legato data management solutions. And, pending government approval, the Documentum piece, which goes more towards content.

CRN: Legato also brought EMC into one part of content management.

Sorenson: [EMC has] a product called ApplicationXtender. This is a modest-sized business, around $20 million. A very successful business, but very different from Documentum.

Documentum is the market leader for enterprise content management. Legato's ApplicationXtender is a midrange product focused on specific vertical markets. Documentum is typically sold as a very high-touch direct sales, typically with much services, across an entire enterprise. ApplicationXtender from Legato is typically sold into the midrange market by VARs who take it and add some specific value for some specific industry, and resell it as a packaged solution. Legato is an out-of-the-box solution sold through VARs. The Documentum piece is very much customized by server.

We think these are pretty much complimentary. I can't say legally where we're going to go with this. I can say no one here is losing one iota of sleep over the issue. We're talking the sale of two very, very different things. . . . There could be a convergence in the future, but right now we're not concerned about that.

CRN: How has bringing in Legato affected the channel, both on the legacy Legato side and the legacy EMC side?

Sorenson: Certainly, for EMC channel partners who say, 'Gee, I'd like to get in on this and sell some Legato software,' they will be required to go through the same Legato certification process to come into that family as was before.

Again, we're trying to keep them separate. People who want to come into Legato as a channel partner will certainly have to go through the right training and certification process, and vice versa.

We're spending a lot of time managing this. Right now, the reaction seems to be, we've done our homework and done a pretty good job. And as we go through it, if we have to make adjustments, we will.

CRN: In terms of the road map, do you have a timeline going forward of things that have to be done before you are satisfied with the integration of Legato?

Sorenson: We actually have [road maps]--I think they're on the Web--that describe in detail what we're doing for the next 18 months. They're pretty straight-forward.

What's interesting with both of these mergers is, it forces you to put pen to paper, to write your road maps for 18 months. You go to other vendors and ask to see their road maps for 18 months, and I'll bet you they can't give 'em to you. Go to Veritas or NetApp and ask to see what their 18-month road map is and see how complete they are.

CRN: Anything else before we end?

Sorenson: We talked about storage management [being] locked and loaded. We talked about data management and going into content management. Most of our things have been around content management in terms of looking at unstructured data and semi-structured data, both with Legato and Documentum. Look for an announcement in the first quarter of this year where we actually begin to put our toe in the water in the management of structured information.

CRN: From the Legato side?

Sorenson: We're one big happy family. How we sell it is still being sorted out. But we're running into the structured data management space--and by structured we mean databases.

So let me make it clear, I'll go on the record: We're not going to build a database or step on the toe of our very good partners in the database space. But we believe that there still is a huge amount of information in databases. To provide the complete [information life-cycle management] solution, we need to contemplate that information as well. We believe it's an underserved market, and that we can do some interesting things here.