EMC Soaring Into the Cloud (Computing)—the Question is When, Not If

2/15/08Follow @bbuderi

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“2008 will mark EMC’s entry into the rapidly growing Web 2.0 storage market.” He spoke particularly of both a hardware product—which has been code-named Hulk. This, apparently, would be a storage system that allows for storing, archiving, and recovery of massive amounts of active digital media content—rich media-type things on the petabyte scale. And he said that EMC would also be launching data management software (which has been code-named Maui) for this system. Traditionally, managing such massive amounts of data might have taken scores of people. From reading what’s out there already, and from what our sources tell us, Hulk and Maui will make this largely automatic—requiring only a few people to manage.

More clues about EMC’s cloud computing efforts are scattered here and there. TechWorld had a nice piece about all this last month. And EMC’s Hollis has blogged about it fairly extensively.

One post from last October was called, “Is There A Cloud In Your Future?” in which Hollis says: “I’m starting to see clouds everywhere…On a personal level, I’d like to live as a user of these clouds. Generally speaking, I don’t want to own IT, I want to use it.”

A more extensive look at cloud computing came in January. Here are some selected excerpts:

Cloud Storage Is Massive

Very massive. We’re routinely encountering new requirements where terms like “gigabyte” and “terabyte” are not useful, the discussion starts at “many petabytes” and goes up from there.

We tend to think of all this stuff sitting in a data center somewhere, but for this model, it just doesn’t work. Nobody can afford a single data center that’s large enough to put all this stuff into (no, not even Google). More importantly, no one can afford the network pipes that’ll be needed in a single place to feed everything into, or out of.

No, what you’ll need is the ability to place these devices in locations around the world, and have them operate as a single entity: a single global name space, and—more importantly—the ability to ingest content from anywhere, and move content to popular places depending on traffic and interest.

Cloud Storage Is Autonomous

If you can imagine many petabytes with billions of objects in hundreds of locations and millions of users, this means that management is an entirely unique proposition.

The environment must be self-tuning, and automatically react to surges in demand. It must be self-healing and self-correcting at a massive scale—like the internet, no single scenario of failures can bring it down.

Cloud Storage Is Universal

Thinking browser-oriented stuff is way too limiting, I think. Give yourself some time and fully ponder all the different ways information could be gathered and distributed on a massive, global scale, and you’ll start to realize the enormity of the appeal.

That should give us a good clue about EMC’s view of the clouds.

Bob is Xconomy's founder and editor in chief. You can e-mail him at bbuderi@xconomy.com, call him at 617.500.5926. Follow @bbuderi

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