Other than the obvious reference from The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy, it's one more than the 41 products we announced at our last MegaLaunch event in early 2011.
I've done my best to look at each group of new or improved products, and share the highlights (as I see them) in an extended series of posts linked below.
I thought in this post I'd share what I think are the big trends motivating all this new R&D.
#1 It's A Flash World For Storage -- Or Will Be Very Soon
If you have anything to do at all with storage technologies, you'll recognize this one. For EMC, this started way back in early 2008 when we introduced our first enterprise flash drives for the Symmetrix.
Everyone loves an industry disruption :)
A few slides from Joe's keynote explain how we look at this.
First, there's the performance aspect. Depending on how and where flash is used in the I/O stack (server, network, array), you see varying levels of mind-bending performance.
Flash performance is way too game-changing to think it might be "best" in only one place or another.
From this chart, you can see where we intend to leverage flash: server, network, and two flavors of array: hybrid arrays that use both disk and flash (the norm at EMC today with VNX and VMAX) as well as a new generation of all-flash arrays that are built on entirely different design principles.
And if you'd like a rough guide to the potential performance improvements that can result from the intelligent use of flash in the compute and storage stack, this chart might be interesting to you.
In a world where we've come to be mightily impressed by 2x and 3x performance bumps, we're talking an entirely new order of magnitude of I/O performance levels from flash, depending on how and where it's being used.
#2 Scale-Out Storage Is Being Driven By Big Data
Two of EMC's scale-out storage products are getting big updates as part of this launch: VMAX and Isilon.
VMAX remains the king-of-the-hill when it comes to scale-out block in enterprise settings. With the new VMAX 40K, nothing even gets close.
Isilon has always done well in large, specialized NAS environments, but -- with their new OneFS 7.0 release -- is now a serious contender for big data storage in larger enterprise settings. Even Atmos (scale-out object storage) is getting some love this time around.
Yes, traditional scale-up arrays are getting bigger and faster as processor technology evolves. But enterprise data is growing much, much faster. You see it every day: customer environments with handfuls (or more) of traditional storage arrays where the team is struggling to deliver it all as a simple, seamless service.
Scale-out isn't something you can easily "add on" to an existing storage array design. The best scale-out arrays were designed from the ground up to present a single, malleable pool of storage resources. And I think these architectural differences will become more pronounced in the near future.
#3 Distance Is Starting To Dissolve
Flash is helping overcome storage latency in the data center -- but what about between data centers?
If you look closely at the latest VPLEX enhancements, you'll start to see a critical mass of interesting use cases now supported where distance is starting to dissolve for moderate (~100KM) separations.
There's another interesting distance-dissolving technology being quietly discussed at EMC World 2012. I don't think the team wants me talking about it yet, though. Let me know if you find it, and then we can chat :)
#4 The Storage Management Model Is Evolving
One of the more innovative announcements at EMC World 2012 is the new EMC DataBridge management application development studio. This represents a clear departure from our tradition of packaged storage management solutions with fixed presentations and workflows.
If you're looking for better strategies for reporting on storage (or other forms of infrastructure), it's worth a serious look.
#5 EMC Is At The Top Of Its Game
I've been with the company 17 years, and never have I felt that we had more good stuff going on than right now. Cloud. Big Data. Trust. And we're still the prime actor in moving the storage market forward -- even as storage technology and consumption models are changing fast.
If you go back even a few years, it seemed that every competitor enjoyed taking their shots at us for one reason or another. Collectively, they're mostly keeping to themselves for the time being.
Even though we've become a large and somewhat complex company, at our core EMC is pretty simple.
We care about our customers and partners, and we care about information.
And that hasn't really changed.
Please take a moment to check out all the product news I've blogged about for today's announcements: