Q+A: James Petter, UK MD EMC

by | 30 May 2014

Petter answers questions on EMC’s reputation, business culture, competitive landscape as well as tech roadmaps, slow Flash take up, markets and why the public sector is getting it wrong

James Petter has been UK MD at EMC since May 2011

Q: Describe the culture of EMC today?

JP: I would describe EMC as a $24bn start up. It is a culture of innovation and we are not your normal corporate. We want to challenge the norm. We pride ourselves on employing people who want to challenge our customers. Our customers don't really want to hear 'this is how you've done it and you should keep doing that' they want to hear 'this is the future.'

Q: Tell me about the legacy business of enterprise storage and roadmap of your technology?

JP: I wouldn't use the word legacy. We've refreshed our entire portfolio over the last three years. And because we spend 11% on R&D each year, each platform has moved on a million miles.
We have simplified the platform. We have built it on a number of criteria. Performance and capacity, a low SLA and a high SLA in terms of response rates and we've structured our platform around those metrics. A high end VMAX and a mid tier VNX are more performance based, then Isilon and Atmos for lower performance and higher capacity and many back up products. We also have a significant software range. The software is about how we do Software Define Storage and extract the intelligence out of those platforms and enable us to run our storage as an open environment and use those assets most effectively.

Q: Flash is a big buzzword - how is it developing and what type of take up is it gaining in the market?
JP: I speak for the UK. We've had flash for a number of years. We have two technologies [acquisitions] in XtremeIO and DSSD. We see the silicon data centre will be the future of where customers will be going. We're seeing a reasonable uptake. We had some successes but is it as fast as we want? No. But I think the reason for that is down to use case and customer adoption. Because customers have a lot of legacy equipment they are still spending on that. The future around flash is finding use cases like VDI and OLTP to truly see the benefits it can deliver.

Q: Flash is hugely competitive market with all flash arrays coming to market. ? How do you view the start up, innovative companies that want to move into your space?

JP: We've seen many niche players come into the market many times and it is possible to deliver a feature and a function and someone may have a great technology. But what do you do when you want to integrate that into your back up environment or your archive environment. So we're about integrating new flash technology into what you've got in the data centre.
While we're cognizant of other players we're not terrified of individual firms because we're confident we can develop the best technology.

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