Looking Forward to Backing Up — at Dell EMC World 2017

The Dell acquisition of EMC is complete.  Most of the leadership shifts and organizational realignments have happened.  The previously Dell Software data protection solution components have moved on under the Quest banner. In short, now that the dust has settled, Dell EMC’s data protection story is ready to move forward.

During the past six EMC Worlds, I’ve watched EMC’s data protection momentum shift in significant ways:

  • BRS (backup & recovery), which was later DPAD (data protection and availability), had a laser-focus on dominating the data center data protection market, with Data Domain as the hero product, combined with an array of software offerings within EMC’s “DP Suite.”
  • CTD brought together EMC’s impressive array of production/primary storage systems (e.g., VMAX & VNXe) with its protection storage (Data Domain), as well as a broad range of protection and availability technologies, with ‘data protection’ being one facet of more encompassing stories.
  • As part of the realignment following the Dell EMC merger, DPD has formed as a data protection-centric organization within the company again.

Most folks have likely never heard of BRS, DPAD, CTD, or DPD – and that’s okay. But everyone who has ever worked in a large corporation knows that how an organization is stitched together (or siloed) has a very significant effect on its ability to create a culture of focus, which then accelerates excellence, and ultimately delivers success (or not).

Where we are now

Dell EMC has a data protection-specific division again. It unveiled some potentially very-disruptive product-visions at the last EMC World, while the Dell EMC efforts were still underway. Now, with new leadership in DP marketing, partnering with seasoned innovators in engineering, and that same EMC domination focus in those parts of its field org, this Dell EMC World could show us if they are ready to reclaim their mantle as a DP juggernaut for the next decade, as they were for much of the last.

What I’ll be looking for at Dell EMC World

It would be hard to name another company with the breadth of technologies that cover data center deduplication, enterprise backup software, backup-as-a-service for ROBO and corporate endpoints, and SaaS-protection … also boasting a world-wide sales force that has the breadth reach of partners and depth (or height) access to C-Level decision makers everywhere. And with many of the Dell EMC data protection products becoming much more ‘cloudy’ than they have been in the past, all of the pieces are there, like a wonderful bag of LEGO bricks poured out on the kitchen table.

What remains to be seen is how the parts will be assembled (people, products, and narrative/vision), in such a way to remind folks that Dell EMC’s data protection offerings and influence will be as relevant in the new hybrid-first era as they have been in the data centers of yesteryear.

If you are coming to Dell EMC World and want to talk about data protection, ping me at @JBuff. I’ll see you there!


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