Gelsinger Taking Over VMware As Storage, Virtualization Come To A Crossroads

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Gelsinger also told CRN in an interview shortly before his move to VMware became known that EMC plans eventually to offer virtual machine versions of all its storage systems that can be run on industry-standard servers. Such a move would make it easier to run applications in a cloud instead of moving the data to the application.

EMC plans to start demonstrating capabilities next year that allow customers to run virtual machines inside of storage arrays, Gelsinger said.

"This allows you to say, 'Hey, the data is, like, really big and really hard to move around," he said. "So why don't I move that comparatively light application right over to the big heavy data, and run it as close as I can to the data.'"

As EMC in 2013 starts introducing those capabilities in its arrays, it will be pushing the industry to question whether such devices are storage arrays or app arrays with a lot of storage next to them, Gelsinger said. "And we'll redefine how we'll start thinking about the components in the data center in the process," he said.

EMC will start supporting this capability next year, and in the next two years will have it generally available across all of its product lines, he said.

The move to bring Gelsinger into the top role at VMware also raises the profile of Gelsinger at a time when EMC is considering who will eventually replace Tucci as chairman and CEO of the parent company.

Gelsinger was one of four EMC executives often mentioned as heirs-apparent when Tucci resigns, perhaps at the end of 2013. With the move to head VMware, his profile rises at the same time as that of a couple of other key EMC executives, including Vice Chairman William "Bill" Teuber and President of Global Sales and Customer Operations Bill Scannell. Teuber and Scannell, along with several other executives, were promoted by EMC last week.

Solution providers close to EMC and VMware praised the move and said that Gelsinger deserves the opportunity to lead VMware.

One solution provider, who asked to remain anonymous, said that the Gelsinger move could be seen either as EMC reeling VMware back into the company or as EMC giving VMware more freedom to expand its technology.

"Putting EMC's former high priest in VMware, what does it mean?," the solution provider said. "Is EMC integrating further into VMware? Or is it showing Gelsinger making VMware more independent?"

Presidio's Kaplan thinks it's the latter.

"Remember that [former VMware CEO Paul] Maritz came from EMC," Kaplan said. "I don't see anything ominous in the new guy coming from EMC to replace the old guy."

NEXT: Making VMware Stronger With Gelsinger

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