EMC executives have discussed the plausibility of building a "mini storage array" for the average home, as well as the company's plan to add encryption technology to its PowerPath product line, at the EMC World user conference in Orlando.
In the short term, EMC officials said, the company was focused on transforming its information management strategy by infusing its storage product set with new security technologies, thin provisioning capabilities and digital rights management functions.
For example, EMC later this year planned to release a beta version of its PowerPath tool for tuning storage-area networks (SAN) that adds encryption capabilities, the officials said.
Generally available in 2008, the product would use encryption technology from EMC's RSA Security unit for block-based storage systems, they said.
The company was evaluating its potential place in the consumer market as it kept a very close eye on the popularity and storage implications of online behemoths such as Google and its YouTube social networking subsidiary, officials said.
EMC was very engaged in the effort to weigh the revenue and technological repercussions of aggressively pursuing a consumer market it has long avoided, company chairman and CEO, Joseph Tucci, said. "We're thinking about it. There are no big decisions yet, but I do think there's a [sizeable] play in the home for a storage mini array," said Tucci, who added that he remains convinced that in the near future, systems in the average middle-class home will be storing more than 1TB of information.
"We have not made a decision [yet]," Tucci said. "The bigger decision is 'how?' We do not have expertise within EMC that understands the consumer market. You either build that expertise, buy that expertise or you can do what Intel did -- get your technology pumped inside of [partners'] technology." Meanwhile, Tucci also said that the company would soon launch its first software-as-a-service offerings.
He said the first substantiation of the on-demand technology would probably be archiving or data vaulting, followed by some form of backup services. Tucci said EMC was on track to launch its initial public offering for 10 per cent of its VMware business unit.
The company was also looking to offer managed storage and security services on top of the VMware virtualisation platform to reach he low-end of the market that EMC did not reach today, he said.
Officials also said that EMC Invista 2.0, set for release next month, would support twice the volume supported by the first version of the network storage virtualisation technology. Along with increased availability and performance characteristics, the upgraded Invista would also feature integration with EMC's RecoverPoint (formerly Kashya) software, allowing the tool to utilize replication and continuous data protection technology.
Tucci said EMC would also broaden its fledgling low-price AX-100 line of storage arrays with the rollout of a new low-end storage box later this year, followed by a significant raft of portfolio announcements early in 2008.
Finally, EMC officials said the company would respond to announcements from competitors such as Hitachi Data Systems by enabling thin provisioning on its Symmetrix DMX-3 arrays CX Clariion storage boxes in 2008.