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EMC has been blasting its trumpets about the cloud for at least four years. It might even be longer, as anyone who has been to an EMC World from 2010 onward can testify. And frankly, even most Las Vegas locals probably equate EMC with cloud because banners have been plastered around the airport, the Sands Convention Center and even the strip for a week each May since 2011, when the company holds its annual user conference.

And while all that’s fine and good, ask the average IT pro what EMC does and they’ll tell you it’s a storage company.

Call it What You Want...

All the “software defined data center” and “private cloud” marketing talk that the company has been making hasn’t really taken. Not because the marketing effort was bad, but because most people are buying what they think of as storage when they buy something from EMC.

And that could be because that’s what they are using it for. (The exception to the aforementioned is EMC’s IIG group which sells content management related software and services —aka Documentum, Captiva, Syncplicity and such).

EMC execs have disagreed with my conclusion, although they’re finally coming around to understanding that people aren’t buying what they’re selling. Jeremy Burton, EMC’s president of product and marketing admitted this to Bloomberg earlier today: “We’re still viewed by many as a provider of storage,” he said.

EMC needs that to change.

Today the company announced a new product, the EMC Enterprise Hybrid Cloud. It’s a bundle that companies can use to move applications and workloads across public and private cloud services. It works with Microsoft’s Azure, Amazon Web Services, VMWare and OpenStack and assimilates with on premise storage.

Leveraging Acquisitions

Much of this new offering leverages three recent acquisitions CloudScaling, an OpenStack cloud facilitator, Maginatics, a software-only cloud storage offering, and Spanning Cloud Apps, a data backup and recovery vendor.

EMC’s pitch to the market is that it can deliver a hybrid cloud in 28 days by leveraging both the new EMC Hybrid Cloud and EMC (consulting) services.

Though the reaction to the news on Twitter is enthusiastic and positive, at the moment, we have yet to see how it will be received by those who review products, do some comparative shopping and sign purchase orders.

After all, EMC, which has been talking about the cloud for years, is late to the game and its clients may have set their sights elsewhere. That being said, both it and VMWare have a large number of loyal customers who trust them and this announcement may be music to their ears. Whether their pocketbooks will sing and whether they’ll actually write checks has yet to be seen.

High Stakes

Make no mistake, for EMC the stakes here are especially high, and CEO Joe Tucci knows it. In 2013 he told an EMC World crowd that “As we moved from platform one (mainframe) to platform two (client-server) there [were] 21 companies with over a billion dollar market cap and the only one that made it successfully to platform two was IBM.”

He went on, “Now as we’re now having the same transition from platform two to platform three … and the companies that are prominent on platform two [will] become much less so [we’ll see] new companies come to great prominence.”

EMC is in a more precarious position than it was at the time of Tucci’s keynote, so much so that its activist investor, Elliot Management is urging it to spin off VMWare, which they claim is weighing is being weighed down by its parent.

And finally, our 3rd platform and big data readers who are interested in the effects of this move on EMC-owned Pivotal, at this point we don’t see any. And as for our EMC Documentum followers, it’s yet another indicator of its relevance to EMC. More on that later this week. 

Title image by James Lee  (Flickr) via a CC BY-NC-SA 2.0 license.