EMC IT at EMC World 2011 …

Boy, EMC World in Las Vegas  was a blast. Many fabulous keynotes and a plethora of technical sessions on various product sets from EMC. And to add to the embarrassment of geeky riches, there was the first Data Scientist Summit too- filled with some of the smartest minds in the world talking about really cool things you can do with big data, scale-out databases like Greenplum,  frameworks like Hadoop and some great visualization techniques ! Several customer and analyst meetings beyond all this. And of course, the Vegas setting itself was unparalleled …

EMC IT had a booth in the Solutions Pavilion with focus on 8 different topics (see the EMC IT Proven site for more information)  – IT’s Journey to the Cloud, IT as a service, the Durham Cloud Data Center, Big Data Analytics using Greenplum, Virtualizing Mission Critical Applications, Data Mobility and VPLEX, Choice Computing focusing on Virtual Desktops and Mobility, and Enterprise Applications and Cloud Integration. In addition, we also had an Expert Bar (a la the famous genius bar) where some of our experts could do deep-dives into different topics. Good amount of traffic and excellent discussions with customers. We also had a birds-of-a-feather session on IT as a service – very well attended and many many questions and discussions from the audience around chargeback models, organizational changes, technology maturity etc.

The highlight for EMC IT was our CIO Sanjay Mirchandani’s keynote on “Living on Cloud Nine”. Sanjay likened our journey to the cloud to the great Mt. Everest expeditition by Sir Edmund Hillary and Sherpa Tenzing Norgay. You may know that in EMC IT, we are past the IT Production and Business Production phases with our levels of virtualization now reaching past 75% and heading towards 86% by the end of 2011. The summit is in sight – the goal of 100% virtualization, and now the idea is to leverage the power of the cloud in delivering IT as a service. We have described IT as a service on this blog before – how we disaggregate our services into finer components than coarse-grained projects, how the pricing is usage based, with service level objectives/agreements/expectations, with integrated cloud architecture and embedded GRC, etc.

Sanjay brought up four different speakers on the stage to talk through some of our recent highlights. First up was Chris Asing, Senior Manager of Infrastructure Services in EMC IT, wearing a ski jacket and a big mountain hat, and he talked through the Cloud 9 self-service IaaS offering and how it has started to transform the ability of IT to deliver transient compute/storage services in a self-service manner. Next was ‘Senior Sherpa’ Tony Pagliarulo, VP of Service Delivery in EMC IT, in an equally thick jacket and hat and with goggles to boot. Tony talked about our use of Greenplum to dramatically improve the times to load Corporate Quality data and render reports (28 min vs 6+days). The collaboration between the Corporate Quality group in EMC and EMC IT is well on its way to using the embedded analytics capabilities of Greenplum further to do predictive analytics and render fast turnarounds on data analysis.

Third up on the stage was Art Coviello, Executive Chairman of RSA (he was dapper in a suit and tie, having refused to wear the ‘yeti suit’ as he called it :)) Art walked us through a compelling vision of a harmonized security management suite, which embeds an eGRC and Security Intelligence Platform including Archer and Greenplum. A partnership and validation process with customers is in progress to define the use-cases and workflows so the context and correlation between various events can enable the analyst/investigator to make the right decisions. Clearly, a most important development in this area of security threats and attacks and the ability to deal with the big data problems there. The final person on the stage was Jack Mollen, EVP of Human Resources at EMC. He talked about the need to evolve from the world of legacy HR platforms which are expensive and SaaS suites with more siloed user experience, to a world of enabling HR to use a variety of best-of-breed applications from an Enterprise App Store and change out if necessary in an agile fashion. Jack had challenged us in IT to see how we could take concrete steps toward his vision. So, we decided to construct an HR proof point around VWMare’s recently announced Cloud Foundry platform – take an existing application to replatform to Spring Java and deploy to the  Cloud Foundry with a Postgres data service. The CloudFOundry instance could be anywhere within the private cloud, a microcloud or a public cloud. Amazing ability for us to achieve quick turnarounds while using an open platform and build the application out in 5 weeks iteratively and wrap it all up ! The future of the Enterprise App Store is starting to emerge !!!

Overall, Sanjay characterized the importance of Planning the Journey – Understand the elements, Pack the right equipment, Acclimatize and Persevere – in a great parallel to how the Everest has been scaled on multiple expeditions.

Sanjay also introduced EMC IT’s own first Cloud Architect, Adam Wagner, even as we head out with different evolving roles on this journey. The role of the Data Scientist to do IT Analytics is also emergent. In the booth, we had shown an example of where, apart from the Customer Quality analytics use-case discussed above, performance ‘sensor’ readings from the various storage arrays could be used to map out performance analytics in real-time – yet another powerful use of Big Data capabilities.

So, all in all, a very satisfying experience at EMC World. Many many things learnt from the other booths. Already looking forward to the next EMC World …

About the Author: KK Krishnakumar