At the top of the shopping list is more security, more management and more data analytics know-how, Pat Gelsinger, president of Information and Infrastructure Products for the company, told reporters today at an event at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Mass. As big as EMC’s acquisitions of companies like RSA Security and Greenplum were in security and analytics respectively, Gelsinger clearly feels there’s more ground to cover.
“In security, with our acquisitions of Archer and NetWitness, we know there’s still a lot of work to be done in this new virtualized cloud world. We don’t think it’s finished yet. While we will do organic innovation in that area, we see a lot of companies and different ways to approach authentication and managing that authentication across multiple mobile devices,” he said.
And, with the proliferation of PaaS, SaaS and IaaS providers, there needs to be a way to manage the relationships between those providers. “We don’t have all the stuff to do that,” he said.
Customers need the same sort of management and monitoring niceties that grew up with legacy enterprise hardware and a lot of that is just not there yet for the cloud.
“There’s a mature environment around mainframes with ITIL and CMDBs: That stack has not been built out for the virtualized world,” Gelsinger said. (ITIL stands for the Information Technology Infrastructure Library: a set of best practices for managing IT services; a CMDB, or configuration management database, is a repository that stores information about the pieces of an IT system.) For businesses to get to cloud-scale management, those are the sorts of things that need to be in place, he said.
The analytics market is so huge – Gelsinger put it at $70 billion and growing at 14 percent to 20 percent per year — there’s been a big acquisition binge around it with IBM, EMC, Oracle and SAP snapping up analytics or business intelligence companies. “There’s a variety of visualization, data transport tools, tools in the ETL (extract, transform, load) arena that have to re-emerge in this big data domain,” Gelsinger said.
As for its core storage business, EMC is more likely to grow organically rather than acquisition. “We think we’re pretty good there post-Isilon. In our storage family, we think we have the assets we need; one area of interest is flash and we’re doing that organically with FAST [EMC's Fully Automated Storage Tiering software] and Project Lightning development.” EMC bought Isilon Systems and its scale-out file system last year.
Project Lightning, a server-side, solid-state flash drive that EMC is developing with an unnamed partner, is the company’s response to Fusion-io’s flash storage. EMC is revising its FAST software so high-priority data will be handled by the fast flash storage while less urgent data is funneled off to cheaper (and slower) SAS or SATA drives.
EMC clearly has the wherewithal to build or buy its way into many arenas. As GigaOM’s Derrick Harris reported this morning, EMC CEO Joe Tucci said Wednesday night that the company will spend about $2.4 billion (or 12 percent of its projected revenue) on R&D this year. And, from 2003 though 2010, it spent $10.5 billion on R&D and $14 billion on acquisitions.