A regular on theCube, EMC President and COO Pat Gelsinger stopped by to discuss the changing culture of his company, and what it’s going to take to catch up to Flash storage trends (full video below). Looking back over previous VMworld events, and the past few years of EMC’s progress, there’s some significant milestones that have been made. Up until now, there’s been a lot of talk about integrating products, APIs and services, but now EMC and VMware have reached a point of execution. “I’m really excited about things like the vFabric Data Director–the pieces are really starting to come together…they’re starting to be really elegant,” Gelsinger says at the onset of the interview with John Furrier and Dave Vellante.
“We think about VMware as the new data center operating system–the assumed layer of the infrastructure of IT is transforming,” he goes on, speaking of his expectations for the coming year. “It really has become a defining element of the IT of the future. It changes everything–what administrators do, application environments–we’ve tipped over.”
So much progress means EMC’s got to keep an eye on innovation, pouring resources into research and development, and staying on the lookout for potential partnerships and rivalries. Gelsinger insists that EMC is paying attention to its R&D, with plans to continue work in management and security stacks, building on its vShield architecture in particular. “We also see the whole data layer is a big layer,” Gelsinger explains. “Getting started with virtualizing the data layer is something that’s getting a lot of our attention.”
And when it comes to implimenting virtualization alongside new developments in storage technology, this is a very important area for EMC and VMware moving forward. Vellante points out that several earlier guests note the issues surrounding storage and virtualization, and Gelsinger responds with some highlights from his earlier presentation.
“The storage infrastructure is getting bigger and heavier. Today in my keynote we show this ability to move the storage fabric. We’re moving compute into the storage array for the first time. Those kinds of innovations show storage can do other things as well.”
Innovation will certainly be key to EMC’s industry position moving forward, and Gelsinger goes on to say that new technology is required for managing this storage problem we’ve created. “You have to make them intelligent,” he says. “These things demand new technologies and that’s a great opportunity to invest and innovate. And when we do change the nature of the IT infrastructure, an IT manager can look at his datacenters as a data center–as a collective.”
But one area EMC hasn’t portrayed itself as innovative is in the Flash storage arena. As Vellante notes, its own Project Lightening initiative was more a game of catch up. Gelsinger agrees, saying there’s “no reason Fusion-io should’ve come out in front of us, and we are catching up.”
“We took a race-centric view and we’re a leader in applying Flash in the array. What we didn’t do is say our business is about Flash in the array–we’re about storage no matter where it’s at. We’re out to create different value of Flash in the infrastructure, and that will give us a differentiated position in the market.”
Talk of Flash in the array brought out the competitive side of Gelsinger, and his hosts took the opportunity to ask him how he plans to stay competitive in the industry, and even for his perspective on HP’s downfall in the PC market, especially as Gelsinger spent so many years at Intel, which is very close to the PC industry. “The tech industry is ruthless and relentless,” Gelsinger says. “Like anything, it’s about creating customer value innovation. We’re barely in the first round of Flash. Virtualization doesn’t do well with it and there’s a long way to go. sustained differentiation is where we’re at and we want to move it from an area of niche application to standard offerings.”