EMC Frantically Pivots To The Cloud

EMC announced some big changes today including the purchase of three cloud companies, a new hybrid cloud product and a reorganization designed to emphasize the cloud.

For those of you who don’t speak technology-buzzword English, the Hybrid Cloud is an approach where some of your computing is done in an on-premises data center and some is delivered by a public cloud provider such as Amazon Web Services.

EMC hopes to support applications that have been “born in the cloud.” Truth be told, to this point, their strategy has been mostly born in the data center, and that’s been fine, but as the market has evolved around them and moved to the cloud, the company has been slow to change.

Laurence Hart, lead analyst at consulting firm Word of Pie, says EMC is definitely looking for a way to weave the public cloud into its product set. “EMC has realized that the on-premises private cloud market is not going to work for everyone. Their customers are increasingly looking to the public cloud. EMC’s hybrid cloud announcements allows them to offer existing customers a reason to stay in the EMC architecture by giving them a path to the public cloud at their pace,” Hart told me.

EMC  is late to the cloud game in a crowded market, but is taking a huge swing for the hybrid cloud business. We have seen other big computer companies take a similar approach as of late including HP, which announced a major cloud initiative earlier this year. Just last week,  Microsoft announced a big deal with Dell to deliver Azure in a Box as a means of delivering Azure on-premises with a bridge to the public cloud as companies get more comfortable with the cloud idea.

So how does this all fit together?

First of all we have the acquisitions, which include SpanningMaginatics and the previously announced CloudScaling purchase. Spanning, which provides data protection, will fit in nicely in the EMC backup and data protection business, which has been recently merged into a single department called the Core Technologies Division. Spanning will remain a branded product (much like Syncplicity, which EMC bought in 2012) and provide native cloud backup. Maginatics technology, which provides data protection across clouds wherever the data happens to live will be folded into the Core Technologies division, and senior director marketing for EMC Core Technologies Division, David Robinson says the company will start delivering products based on this technology some time in 2015.

The final piece, CloudScaling gives EMC an OpenStack hybrid cloud Infrastructure as a Service offering that again can span the data center or the public cloud. CloudScaling is part of the newly formed Emerging Technologies division. You can see the pattern emerging here. It’s all about bridging the gap between the data center and the public cloud.

That’s why the other announcement today that EMC was offering a major hybrid cloud product makes so much sense. The new product called EMC Enterprise Hybrid Cloud Solution claims it can deliver a solution quickly, in 28 days or less (using EMC Professional Services, naturally) and it works with EMC Enterprise Hybrid Cloud Federation Software-Defined Data Center Edition with VMware now. Microsoft Cloud Platform and OpenStack versions will be available some time next year. As for the public cloud connection, for now it works with VMware vCloud Air, Microsoft Azure and Amazon Web Services. (Keep in mind EMC owns 80 percent of VMware.)

As previously mentioned, EMC has reorganized around this cloud strategy forming two new groups: Core Technologies and Emerging Technologies.

That is a huge change in what seems like a day, but which has very likely been in the planning stages for quite some time. EMC sees the changes happening all around it and it is trying desperately to react to the shifts it sees in the market. They deserve credit for going all-in here, but what’s not clear is how this all fits together, especially where the acquisitions are concerned. It’s trying to make major organizational changes while folding in three new companies and it won’t be easy to pull off.

As Hart told me, “This could very well be a case of too little, too late. Time will tell.” Indeed.