Scenes From EMC World: Work, Play And Newbies

You Are There: Scenes From EMC World

EMC World, held last week in Las Vegas, was a huge gathering of EMC's customers, partners, and executives aimed at spreading EMC's vision about the intersection of the cloud and "big data," or data which scales to multipetabytes of capacity and which is created or collected and stored in real time.

It was a serious event, with new product introductions, hands-on training and certification programs, and endless hours of hearing about how big data will impact the cloud and vice versa.

But there was also time for a little fun, either on the show floor or at countless after-hours parties. CRN was there when both the work and the play was going on. Turn the page for a virtual trip to Las Vegas.

Don't Watch Carefully

One of the highlights of the new product showcase at EMC World was the booth entertainment, including Chef Anton, master pool shark, huckster, con man, and two-day EMC spokesman.

Anton, a two-time U.S. trick shot champion and one of the few pool sharks to ever hustle the legendary Minnesota Fats, sang the praises of EMC and wove the vendor's latest wares into his repertoire of trick pool shots and card tricks.

Here he is planning to shoot one ball to knock the ball sitting on a piece of chalk in a potential victim's mouth, warning that he needs to maintain a perfect speed of 22 mph at a 37 degree angle. Too fast, and he might break the volunteer's jaw. Too slow, and he risks popping the ball on the volunteer's face. At least that's what he said.

Spin Around The Track

The CA booth featured a figure-eight electronic race track which allowed up to six attendees race at the same time. The winner of each round received a set of high-end headphones and the chance to win a larger prize.

Marketing Mistake?

One EMC booth featured a movie theme, with several fake movie titles spoofing real movies while emphasizing the evils of tape vs. some of the solutions offered by EMC.

Note one of those titles, "Raiders of the Lost Archive." Whoever came up with that title probably didn't attend Veritas Vision back in 2005 or 2006 when Jeremy Burton, now EMC's chief marketing officer but back then a senior vice president of Veritas, starred in a video he presented with that same name. In that video, he is attacking a number of enemies, one of whom was EMC.

Kudos to EMC's marketing department for helping dredge up fond memories from a competitor's past.


EMC was a 2011 sponsor of the VEX Robotics Competition in which teams of middle school and high school students from around the nation built robots and then competed against each other in such skills as stacking and unstacking plastic rings and climbing the ladder in the middle of the table.

No lasers, nuclear bombs, or razor blades were allowed in the competition.

It Is Las Vegas, After All...

The solution provider business can be a helluva gamble sometimes, and what better place to gamble than with a distributor?

Avnet sponsored an after-hours party which gave its solution provider partners the chance to gamble with fake money in an attempt to win real prizes.

All legal, of course. It's Las Vegas, after all...

After-hours Schmoozing

ICI, a Marlborough, Mass.-based solution provider and partner of both EMC and VCE, held a customer appreciation party at the Tao nightclub inside the Venetian Hotel. A lot of EMC executives sure came for a customer appreciation party.

Also enjoying ICI's hospitality was Frank Hauck, who late March was appointed president of VCE. Hauck (right), who until March was an EMC executive vice president and a member of the EMC executive office of the Chairman, spent some quality and drank some quality refreshments with Jamie Shepard (left), executive vice president of technology solutions at ICI.

Taking Advantage Of All Those Potential Customers

Several solution providers sponsored booths at EMC World in an attempt to highlight their products and services and snag some new customers in the process.

Forsythe Solutions Group, a Skokie, Ill.-based solution provider, went one step further and rented a room near where nearly every attendee of EMC World passed on the way to and from meeting rooms, the solutions pavilion, and the keynote presentations.

Green, The Color Of What?

EMC roped off a space on the show floor as a temporary classroom for solution providers and users looking to get their vSpecialist or vLabs certification.

Floating above the classroom was a giant green cloud. The cloud fit the theme of the entire conference.

Why green? Perhaps it's because cloud computing in theory can cut the power and cooling required for certain operations? Or is it the money EMC promises partners can make by pushing customers to the cloud? Or is it the color representing the envy of Microsoft when it thinks about the virtualization market share of arch-rival VMware, which is almost completely owned by EMC?

On The Job For, What, 6 Hours?

When CRN met up with Fred Kohout, EMC's new global head of channel marketing, and asked him what his plans were for helping EMC with channel marketing, he did not have a lot to say.

"I'm in hour six of my first day," Kohout said. "Just give me three more hours, and I'll have something for you."

Kohout did say that he is working with Gregg Ambulos, senior vice president of global channel operations and Americas channel sales, on scaling EMC's partner strategy by growing the partner ecosystem, growing EMC's ability to provide partners with sales tools and campaign help, and growing the company's marketing.

Getting To Know You, Getting To Know All About You

EMC's Fred Kohout, (left), made the best of his first two days on the job as global head of channel marketing by getting out and meeting EMC's solution provider partners.

Here, he's meeting with Keith Norbie, vice president of sales at Nexus Information Systems, a Minnetonka, Minn.-based solution provider and long-term EMC partner, for the first time.

Speaking About Gregg Ambulos...

EMC's Gregg Ambulos, senior vice president of global channel operations and Americas channel sales, was also at the conference, where he said that the opportunities for solution providers have never been greater.

EMC estimates the total addressable market (TAM) for its entire product portfolio to be about $110 billion. "That's a huge opportunity not only for new partners to capture, but for existing partners as well," Ambulos said. "We need our partners."

EMC is bringing new products to its channel partners, Ambulos said. For instance, he said EMC plans to bring its newly-acquired Isilon scale-out NAS platform to its Velocity program by January of next year.

He said EMC is also working with its Greenplum team build a channel program for that recently acquired product line, which is focused on wringing information out of stored data.

Backup, Recovery And Another New Guy

EMC is continuing to do its share to push the data protection market away from tape and towards purpose-built appliances such as the Data Domain line offered by EMC, said B.J. Jenkins (left), president of EMC's Backup Recovery Systems division.

Sales of purpose-built backup appliances are expected to grow 16.6 percent annually through 2014, Jenkins said, quoting IDC numbers. EMC has a 64.2 percent of that purpose-built backup appliance market, he said.

Stephen Manley (right), CTO of the Backup Recovery Systems division who joined EMC from rival NetApp in October, said EMC is continuing to integrate its Avamar and Networker software applications with Data Domain. "With tape, the main virtue is, you can put it on a truck," Manley said.

New Products

EMC World was also a great place to get information on new storage and cloud hardware, software and services from EMC and other vendors, as the growth of the cloud and, EMC's response to it, promises to continue.