Yesterday, a big executive switcheroo was announced: Pat Gelsinger, long considered Joe Tucci’s heir apparent at EMC, was named to replace Paul Maritz at VMware. Maritz, in turn, moves into the mothership with a â€œnew technology strategist roleâ€ at EMC. I’m no analyst, but this move raised questions in my head, as I’m sure it did for many EMC and VMware customers.
Today was a big one for EMC, with the company launching or updating 41 storage products, including the new VNX storage system. EMC’s press and analyst event was equally notable, with a large crowd of insiders (including me) brought to New York City to watch a sideshow of world records set. Although Wall Street noticed all the fuss and rewarded the company with a 52-week high stock price, some actions away from the Equitable Center drew the ire of EMC competitor, NetApp.
After years spent focusing on personal technology, businesses are increasingly turning back to the enterprise. The corporate IT market is much more dynamic and competitive, with a few very large “superpower” companies discovering their power to drive purchasing decisions. If a supplier can create an integrated “stack” of hardware and software, they can push product purchases that might otherwise be overlooked or postponed. This is the main reason that enterprise IT acquisitions work so well: Where a small company must fight to sell their product, a large one can hitch it to a much more strategic sale and have it pulled along.
EMC is the 800 lb gorilla of the enterprise storage industry, but the company has much bigger plans. Although CEO Joe Tucci kicked off his keynote by claiming “We are an infrastructure company and proud of it,” EMC’s ambitions must go way beyond IT infrastructure. Each acquisition and strategy announcement is an attempt by EMC adapt to a fundamentally-transformed enterprise IT world.