Tucci: EMC VNXe Is An SMB Storage Game-Changer

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EMC's Joe Tucci

EMC Chairman, President and CEO Joe Tucci isn't bothered by skeptics who believe his company doesn’t have the right stuff to dominate the SMB storage market. Those so-called Missouri Show-Me types are the kind of people he loves to win over, said Tucci in an exclusive interview with CRN. “When you win over a skeptic, you have really created a loyalty. And I love doing that.”

That is just what Tucci is attempting to do by unleashing its VNXe/VNX storage family a secret three-year, companywide internal development project based on industry-standard Intel processors. Unveiled Tuesday, the entry-level VNXe is aimed at the heart of the SMB storage market and includes a breakthrough new version of the company’s revolutionary Unisphere software that for the first time gives EMC a complete unified storage line that spans the market for small business to the Fortune 500.

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Tucci is discussing the VNXe launch in the executive suite at the $17 billion storage giant’s Hopkinton, Mass., headquarters on a chilly winter afternoon just before Christmas. It’s the same conference room where three years earlier Tucci was first briefed on the VNXe product set—code-named Neo, a reference to “The Matrix” protagonist and an anagram that translates to “One.”

VNXe, which represents an attack on the sub-$10,000 storage market, aims at longtime rivals Hewlett-Packard and IBM. But its two biggest targets are archrival NetApp and former top reseller partner Dell, both of which have staked a claim in the SMB market that is, to say the least, troubling to EMC.

On that winter afternoon, Tucci said EMC has built the simplest array—bar none—to configure, install and use, a contrast for a company considered by many storage junkies as long on power and complexity but short on simplicity. The big surprise with VNXe is, indeed, its simplicity and the aggressive, new price points. The entry-level model is priced starting at $9,260, according to EMC, bringing to the SMB record-breaking performance at a price less than Dell, NetApp, IBM and HP. Rich margins for partners are also part of the package.

Tucci is not playing for small stakes. He sees a worldwide storage market totaling some $50 billion, with EMC sitting on the sidelines in an SMB segment that some say accounts for as much of 30 percent of that sum.

“When we enter a market, we try to become No. 1,” said Tucci of the bet EMC is making with VNXe.


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