This time, the assignment was to create a clear-eyed, non-marketing description of what EMC was doing about this whole "cloud" thing.
While the resulting document doesn't exactly make for scintillating bedtime reading, it does serve as a useful comprehensive reference -- at this point in time.
Despite my efforts at completeness, I'm sure I've inevitably left out one thing or another.
And you might be surprised on just how much we're doing ...
The desired model for producing and consuming IT services has now changed; we use “cloud” to summarize the following far-reaching structural changes:
• New core infrastructure and methodologies
• New application frameworks and methodologies
• An increasing demand for native mobile user experiences
• New techniques for securing access to information and infrastructure
• New approaches to orchestration and monitoring of IT service delivery
• A new class of IT deep expertise in multiple functions
• The opportunity for new business models
1.1. Macro trends
Familiar infrastructure technologies (compute, network, storage) are evolving quickly in this new model. Newer cloud-based orchestration and management models are now demanded to produce and deliver scalable services. New technologies are required to federate resources, and create “clouds of clouds”. The familiar notion of an application is quickly being redefined to a dynamic composition of services. And, of course, the preferred consumption device is now usually a mobile one.
Virtualization is the key technology behind cloud, and today EMC’s VMware subsidiary enjoys a substantial market share of 80+%, along with recognized technological lead in enterprise clouds. Now, VMware is building on proven virtualization technologies to move towards a software defined data center; next-gen environments where all aspects of IT service delivery and functionality are under dynamic software control.
EMC, together with our partners Cisco and Intel, is also delivering advanced capabilities around converged infrastructure: integrated compute, network and storage built to support software defined data center capabilities.
Even while EMC and VMware are recognized as leaders in cloud computing for enterprise IT environments, we are now leveraging our expertise and capabilities towards creating the next wave of clouds that will be built on enhanced open sourced technologies.
New ways of doing things creates new business opportunities for EMC’s customers and partners. We are actively helping to foster new IT delivery business models in virtually every industry and every part of the globe.
EMC continues to focus intently on all three aspects of the industry’s cloud transformation: new cloud technologies, next-generation cloud expertise, and new cloud business models.
1.2. New Cloud Technologies
Almost every aspect of IT technology becomes re-envisioned when its intent is to deliver integrated services vs. dedicated functions. This technology shift is well underway today, and will continue vigorously for the remainder of the decade.
1.2.1. New core infrastructure is now defined as virtualizing industry-standard compute, storage and network technologies into aggregated and converged resource pools.
EMC’s VMware subsidiary continues to be the clear leader and innovator in server virtualization as confirmed by its compelling 80%+ market share. EMC's partnership with Cisco brings industry-leading network expertise. And EMC’s core storage technologies have long been recognized as market leaders in storage virtualization.
EMC’s strengths in virtualization and storage are complemented by exceptionally deep relationships with Intel and Cisco, and integrated through our VCE joint venture, which has quickly become the de-facto standard for enterprise-class clouds.
But the market is moving quickly to demand even more convergence and integration between historically separate technologies. We -- along with our partners -- are working hard to further blur the lines between storage, compute and network in anticipation of the next generation of scale-out cloud deployments.
1.2.2. Application frameworks are now being thought of as fabrics of entities that publish and subscribe to across multiple providers, and not the familiar self-contained monoliths.
Classical databases and programming languages are quickly giving way to distributed data services, “noSQL” data management and agile frameworks. The consumption model has changed to PaaS (platform as a service) – further accelerating development speed and agility.
EMC's VMware currently enjoys preferred status in these new environments; bringing software technologies, application frameworks and supporting environments.
For example, data services are provided by vFabric suite, focusing on GemFire and SQLfire as in-memory data services platforms. The SpringSource application framework represents the latest thinking in advanced enterprise Java development. And Spring’s CloudFoundry is quickly becoming the preferred PaaS development and delivery model in new enterprise application development.
A fascinating subset of these newer applications are driven by the need to exploit big data analytics in real time. Dubbed “big, fast data”, our advanced technology group is developing brand-new geographically scalable architectures and capabilities to exploit the new wealth of real-time information now available through sensors, the web and more.
New challenges and new tools demand new expertise, especially when it comes to next-generation app development and deployment.
Recently, EMC acquired Pivotal Labs as a focal point for expertise and agile development methodologies. Their agile methodology framework (Tracker) is quickly becoming the reference standard for sophisticated application development management using newer approaches.
1.2.3. Mobile user experiences are the new norm for end user computing, and are sharp departures from previous desktop and web application models. These native mobile apps demand new tools, middleware, and frameworks to build and deploy, especially at internet scale. Large scale mobile apps in turn drive demand for even more scale and agility at the back end.
EMC continues to acquire and integrate technologies required for these newer, large-scale mobile application environments. EMC’s acquisition of Pivotal Labs brings industry-leading application development expertise. EMC's acquisition of Syncplicity brings simple secure data sharing to mobile environments. VMware’s Project Horizon extends VMware’s traditional desktop virtualization strengths into mobile application deployment. And the EMC Consulting organization has many examples of successful large-scale B2C mobility projects
Advanced research is currently being conducted in secure mobile application containers, dynamic authentication of mobile users, as well as intelligent information caching over wireless networks from source to device in an effort to improve user experiences and reduce costs. We are currently partnering with a small number of progressive telecommunication companies looking to exploit this new mobile application consumption model.
1.2.4. Securing access to information and infrastructure becomes a brand new topic in this decentralized and mobilized IT world. Yesterday’s tools and methodologies aren’t up to the task, creating the need for an entirely new set of security philosophies, supporting technologies and new high-level skills to protect assets.
From new ways of authenticating access, to controlling information distribution, to sophisticated predictive analytics using big data and data science – EMC sees an enormous frontier of security opportunities in this emerging mobile and cloud-powered world.
RSA has built on its traditional risk-based authentication and encryption strengths to invest in DLP (data loss prevention), predictive analytics (NetWitness), risk management (Archer) as well as a range of external security-as-service offerings.
We have invested substantially in integrating RSA's capabilities with those of our key partners such as Intel and Cisco, in an effort to make advanced security capabilities baked in, vs. bolted on. We also have publicly announced that advanced security will be an area of increased focus for EMC over the coming years – driven by rapidly changing industry requirements.
1.2.5. Orchestrating and operating large-scale cloud infrastructures isn’t simply an extension of existing IT management thinking; it’s a re-envisioning of the entire IT service delivery model. Provisioning, monitoring and reporting is moving rapidly from isolated technology components to aggregated and dynamic services produced and consumed.
The management technology model is different in this world. As opposed to closed management platforms with static functionality and workflow, the preference is open APIs, powerful knowledge engines and the ability to quickly generate and deploy customized management workflows and applications.
EMC continues to assemble and integrate advanced management frameworks that presume cloud scale and efficiencies through a variety of product initiatives: vCenter Operations Manager, our Ionix portfolio and more.
As we bring our growing expertise around big data analytics to bear on the multiple challenges associated with large-scale cloud operations, we are finding great opportunities to use predictive analytics to address thorny challenges in capacity forecasting, operations improvement and other topics.
1.2.6. Advanced technology research -- in many areas, simply extended and adapting existing technologies can meet emerging requirements. However, EMC has identified a number of key areas where fundamental breakthroughs are needed.
A sample of strategic focus areas would include:
126.96.36.199. Cloud workload mobility: as clouds are inherently distributed over progressively larger geographies, this creates a new challenge to dynamically move both application and information without interruption. EMC’s VPLEX and related technologies are enabling “clouds of clouds” to be built that dynamically optimized resource and information placement.
188.8.131.52. Cloud storage: information storage in the cloud is ideally distributed and object-based with rich metadata that drives policies and behaviors; EMC’s Atmos technology is the foundation for many of these newer cloud object storage models.
184.108.40.206. Cloud provisioning: even the most proficient cloud operators will identify a structural challenge to dynamically provisioning resources associated with tens of thousands of server images. VMware's recent acquisition of DynamicOps reflects this theme. EMC and VMware are collaborating with the open source community (via Project Razor) to introduce new several new foundational technologies in this area.
220.127.116.11. Cloud federation: the industry is moving to a “cloud of clouds” model, requiring clouds to interoperate and federate information and workloads in a manner that’s seamless, secure and manageable. This, in turn, is driving a number of R&D projects within EMC.
18.104.22.168. Cloud integration: a cloud is vastly more effective when the pieces are designed to work together. EMC – through its VCE joint venture – is currently delivering pre-integrated enterprise-class clouds and dramatically accelerating time-to-deploy. This mission to deliver complete, turnkey solutions is driving substantial and important integration between formerly disparate components.
1.3. Next-Generation Cloud Expertise
The emerging requirements in the IT world are now for deep architectural and process-building expertise that spans multiple traditional disciplines: server, storage, network, applications, security and so on.
EMC is at the forefront in creating advanced programs of study that increase the pool of available “cloud talent”. In addition to offering our own certifications, through the EMC Academic Alliance we partner with hundreds of institutions around the globe to deliver the advanced skills now needed in the emerging IT marketplace.
Over 800 institutions in 50 countries around the world are now participating in the EMC Academic Alliance, with over 100,000 students being educated with EMC-supplied coursework.
- The EMC Cloud Architect certification is targeted at IT infrastructure professionals with expertise in one or more supporting disciplines: virtualization, storage, networks, etc. These skills are complemented with other required knowledge such that participants can design and build a functioning cloud environment using a variety of technologies. Over 8000 students have been through this coursework.
- The EMC ITaaS (IT as a service) expert certification builds on the prerequisite cloud architect coursework and focuses on creating expertise in the process re-engineering activities that are integral to cloud environments. This course of study is far more difficult and lengthy than the Cloud Architect certification. Over 600 students have been through this coursework.
- The EMC Cloud Essentials coursework is targeted at more general-level IT practitioners who want a basic understanding of cloud concepts and how they translate into production IT environments. Designed as an easy-to-consume 40 hour self-study course, it has been taken by tens of thousands of students, and is increasingly being incorporating into mainstream computer science and IT programs.
Work is underway to develop new coursework in related areas:
- Cloud application development – new tools, new patterns and new design philosophies are required.
- Cloud security and governance requires a re-thinking of traditional security tools and processes. Our expertise gained through RSA is the foundation of this new expertise.
- Mobile cloud architecture adapts cloud concepts for supporting potentially millions of mobile devices in either an application or enterprise context.
- In addition, new coursework in IT Finance, IT Human Resources and IT Marketing are being requested by EMC’s customers and partners.
In addition, many traditional IT organizations need focused assistance in transitioning to the ITaas (IT-as-a-service) model that is implied by cloud. EMC has developed a wide range of consulting and professional services to assist with this important transformation.
1.4. New Cloud Business Models
As IT service production becomes more disaggregated, a bevy of new business opportunities are being created around the production (and sometimes consumption) of newer IT services.
Generally referred to as IT Service Providers, the nascent category is attracting many billions of dollars of new investment, and attracting entrepreneurial talent from around the globe. EMC believes that in the very near future – far more IT will be produced and delivered as a service vs. sold as a traditional set of technology products.
These newer IT services range from basic infrastructure services to more advanced application and security services, including a new category of “brokered marketplace” services. Much like there is a global market for energy, talent and capital, EMC believes that the cloud will enable a global market for generic and specialized IT services delivered over a network.
Unlike most larger IT vendors, EMC has made a strategic choice not to compete with IT service providers by offering our own IT services. Instead, we’ve chosen to invest substantially in newer service provider partners and business models that wish to focus on this new marketplace.
Our investment goes far beyond simply supplying advanced technology: we bring our expertise in large-scale IT, our ecosystem of partnerships, our financial resources, business model expertise and our understanding of enterprise IT requirements.
1.5 The Road Ahead
Cloud is transforming IT, enabling IT to transform the business.
As more businesses and organizations move to digital business models, they will be inevitably powered by clouds -- new technologies, new operational models, new expertise -- and new opportunities.
The future of cloud is very bright indeed, and we at EMC are priviliged to be a key part of this industry transformation.