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Software Hot, Hardware Not, At EMC World, Interop

After a week that started at EMC World, where the talk was of storage systems, big data and information-driven applications, and ended at Interop, where the spotlight was on programmable networks, enabling and taming the mobile ecosystem and the “Internet of Things”, it’s clear that the emphasis across the IT world is rapidly shifting from hardware to software.

Sure, big iron like Arista’s 7500E Data Center Switch, Broadcom’s massively integrated Trident II switch chip, and EMC’s high-performance and exceedingly scalable VMAX and VNX arrays still generate plenty of crowds and headlines, but the real focus of development resources, R&D dollars and executive attention is on software. If not eating the world, software is definitely encompassing a greater and greater share of it.

Nowhere was this more apparent than at EMC World, and nothing drove home the point with greater force and clarity than EMC CEO Joe Tucci’s admission — nay, proud affirmation — of the fact that the storage goliath that rose to dominate its industry on the strength of its powerful and burly hardware now devotes the vast majority of its development resources on software. In response to a question at a media briefing on the effect of hardware commodification and the attendant proliferation of white box storage systems on the company’s business, Tucci stated that at most, EMC has a mere 500 engineers developing hardware, out of 12,000 total. Indeed, Tucci claimed the company embraces commodity hardware wherever it can, citing as supporting evidence the fact that EMC makes only one custom ASIC. Chiming in, EMC COO David Goulden reinforced the point, saying, “Our value is in the integration and the packaging.” Goulden left unsaid the implication that building a VNX array is easy; making it operate like a VNX array isn’t.

Network Computing

Categories: General.

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