UPDATED 14:55 EDT / MAY 27 2014

Private infrastructure is the cornerstone of hybrid computing, says EMC cloud chief | #EMCworld

web software defined networking connections infrastructure hyperscale architectureOver the last few years, EMC World has evolved from just another storage show to a well-rounded industry event that not only focuses on the company itself but its partners and the key trends shaping the broader market as well. The main theme at this year’s conference, which took place earlier this month in Las Vegas, was the so-called “third platform for IT”, a term describing the convergence of the technologies disrupting service delivery in the enterprise.

Falling under that umbrella are analytics, mobility and cloud computing, which EMC sees as the  most important of the three from a competitive standpoint. Peter Cutts, who spearheads the vendor’s strategy for responding to Amazon’s advance on its data center home turf, dropped by theCUBE during the event to share how it’s going about doing that.

Cutts runs EMC’s Cloud Solutions Business Unit, which is responsible for unifying capabilities from throughout the vendor’s federation of companies  into cohesive offerings complete with professional services aimed at helping customers to adapt their existing business processes for the solutions. The division splits its attention between addressing the needs of practitioners and those of end-users and developers, he tells hosts Stu Miniman and  Steve Kenniston, with the goal of putting the latter group more flexibility “but with the ability to measure what they use, so giving them a cloud-like experience on-premise with the security and agility needed to transform IT from a cost center to a value center.”

Reaching a balance between control and agility is becoming increasingly important as the adoption of public cloud services continues to accelerate in the workplace and more workloads move outside the corporate firewall. Test and development systems are usually the first to be shipped off-premise as a result of the “immediate” benefits to be had from exploiting the as-a-service model, Cutts says, with traditional non-critical applications like SharePoint often following suite for the same reasons. But not all processes are a good fit for the cloud.

“Everything has its place, it’s what you’re trying to achieve and how you’re trying to build it,” he explains. “Some customers won’t allow things to go outside the datacenter, some do. There are applications that are mission-critical and need different SLAs that can’t be provided in certain public cloud environments.” He adds that advanced capabilities (or rather the lack thereof) can also be a decisive factor when it comes to certain workloads,  with disaster recovery and high-availability in particular proving as major pain points for customers.

That functionality have been available in private data centers for quite some time now and can be extended to off-premise environments as well through a hybrid model, Cutts notes. But that requires linking the two, a formidable task  that EMC and subsidiaries  VMware and Pivotal, like the rest of the industry, have not yet fully addressed.

From the CIO’s perspective, the challenge is as much about the technology as it is about sustaining existing infrastructure investments and tearing down cultural barriers to adoption within their organizations. That’s why Cutts’ unit is focusing so heavily on end-users.

“When you think about cloud and IT-as-a-service, remember that IT is the target to make it easier to administrate, but the end-user controls everything,” he highlights. “The control is in the end-user’s hands, to get the service they want with the SLA they need. It’s all about providing choice for them.” The latter has been an especially big priority for EMC.

As Cutts points out, the latest release of its ViPR software-defined storage platform provides support for competing systems from NetApp and Hitachi. Additionally, the vendor is pursuing an aggressive partnering strategy in a two-pronged effort to provide customers’ with a wide range of third party solutions  to choose from while extending its presence to markets it would not be able to reach on its own.

photo credit: nexus6 via photopin cc

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