Scenes From EMC's Major Product Launch


EMC kicked off a significant product launch in Manhattan Tuesday, introducing new EMC storage devices with functionality for customers and partners ranging from small-business to enterprise. In all, 41 new products were unveiled, according to EMC, the largest launch in the company's history, an event that also featured a record being set for the Guinness Book of World Records.

Here's a closer look at the action:


Jeremy Burton, EMC's chief marketing officer, kicked off the event proclaiming it to be the biggest product launch in the history of the storage industry. The company has come along way from 1979, when it was founded and sold office furniture for two years until its first product, memory for Prime Computer, was introduced.

Change Is Necessary

EMC CEO Joe Tucci noted that EMC expects global IT spending to increase 3 percent to 5 percent this year, but how customers spend that money is transforming.

"IT is at a breaking point. It's too complex, too inefficient, too inflexible, too costly. About 73 percent of budgets for IT are spent maintaining existing infrastructure and applications. Only 27 percent spend it on something truly new to propel the business to create differentiation. This creates lot of angst," Tucci said.

What's A Zettabyte?

As customers look to redefine how they spend their IT budget, one thing will remain constant: the need to store and protect more information, said Tucci, who recently spoke to CRN.

He noted that from 2009 to 2020 the amount of data that needs to be stored and managed will increase 44 times.

"They're actually measuring information in Zettabytes now. How much is a Zettabyte? You've heard of Terabytes, that's a trillion, and Gigabytes, that's a billion. It's a trillion billion," Tucci said. "Take the period of the recession: the price of a house went down, there was more unemployment, the stock market went down and IT budgets went down. But information went up 62 percent. Even in the most trouble times, information continues to grow."

Big Data

Tucci said some of EMC's new products are focused on what he called "big data," which ranges from high-end video rendering for a motion picture like "Avatar" to medical imaging to genomic sequencing.

"When you think of 'big data,' you think petabyte scale. Most of those customers start with a petabyte and expand. That gives you an idea of how fast it's growing," Tucci said.

Portfolio Pride

Pat Gelsinger, president and COO of Information Infrastructure Products at EMC, introduced all the new products, including the VNXe disk array, aimed at small businesses with a suggested retail price of $9,499. He added that the products are a strong channel play too.

"It's not just the entry price. We've build in rich margins for channel partners. It's a great product for customers, but it's a great product for the channel as well," Gelsinger said.

EMC has expanded its relationships with distributors Ingram Micro, Synnex and Tech Data, as well as CDW and PC Connection, to deliver the products to SMB solution providers, he added.

"We've added a new tier to our Velocity program. Instead of days or weeks of training, in as little as three hours of training we can have partners up to speed," he said.

Hands-On Demo

Gelsinger showed a quick live demonstration of the VNXe with the help of Doug Wood, a vice president of low-end products.

"It's simple interface. [SMB] customers ask us to allocate storage, but not by terabytes or gigabytes, but by mailboxes," Gelsinger said. "You can do that. It's allocating storage by mailboxes...We're configuring our data center as we speak."

Where's The Problem?

The VNXe has a graphical representation of the product in the interface, which allows the administrator to quickly identify which part of the unit (here, a power supply highlighted in red), has an issue and how to fix the problem.

Pedabyte Power

Gelsinger also detailed EMC's other new products, including the VNX, which combine EMC's Clariion and Celerra technology, up to the VMAX line for enterprises, to better manage and store date for large corporations. He showed a data point that since Jan. 1 of this year, 1,240,036,374,697,152,065,225 bytes of data have been created.

"In 2002, we had 10 customers who were in our petabyte club. Today we have 1,000," Gelsinger said. "We expect to have 100,000 petabyte customers in a decade and next year we expect to have our first exabyte customer."

Power Savings

In 2011, EMC's VMAX tiering technology will help customers avoid 270 million kilowatts of power consumption, enough to power 24,400 homes, Gelsinger said.

New Guinness Record

EMC entertained the crowd by having 26 professional acrobats squeeze into a Mini Cooper vehicle to set a record certified by the Guinness Book of World Records. Here, the tight squeeze commences.

Almost In

With all 26 people packed inside, a helper gets ready to shut the door. The group had to remain inside the car for 5 seconds to certify the record

Tight Squeeze

Needless to say, the record was achieved by a professional team of acrobats. No need to try this at home.

Standing Ovation

After extricating themselves from the car, the group got a standing ovation from the crowd of several hundred people on hand for the event

Tale of the Tape

EMC's Burton wheeled out a hand truck full of backup tapes while Gelsinger talked about the transition to disk-based storage will make tape technology obsolete.

Partner Perspective

Mont Phelps, CEO of NWN, a Waltham, Mass.-based solution provider was one of several channel executives on hand for the launch. Afterwards, Phelps said the new portfolio represents a fundamental shift for EMC to reach smaller customers.

"Traditionally, they were a high-end, high-price, high-performance company. The thread that went through this presentation from Tucci to the end was really price performance," Phelps said. "The market is driving price performance and it sounds like they're going to do that. I've also talked to a number of [EMC] folks who see the need for partners to penetrate this lower market."