EMC lays out product roadmap, warns of disk shortages

EMC CEO Joe Tucci offered a high-level overview of the company’s product roadmap, which includes a refresh of its VMAX Symmetrix array, its VNXe hybrid array and the general availability of its embedded flash storage product for servers.

EMC subsidiary VMware will also detail new functions in all of its major product families, including the vSphere private cloud infrastructure suite and the vFabric application cloud platform.

During the year-end earnings call, Tucci also cautioned that the global economy will remain “choppy” this year, but said IT spending will continue to grow – if moderately – at about three per cent to four per cent.

“This is about half the seven per cent growth rate we believe the IT industry experienced in 2011,” he said. “IT spending in storage and data protection will grow faster than the IT industry average.”

Tucci said spending on security, Big Data storage, data analytics, virtualization, data center OSes, and the cloud will also grow significantly faster than the overall industry average. “The good news is that these higher growth areas of IT is where EMC and VMware play,” he added.

The monsoonal flooding in Thailand that affected worldwide disk storage supplies last year will continue to do so through 2012, he said.

“We expect these constraints to apply more to nearline drives than mission-critical drives,” he said, referring to high-capacity SATA drives. Tucci added that there is the potential for rive supplies to improve in 2012, and “given our strong relationship with the major drive vendors, we at EMC expect to be relatively better positioned,” he said.

Last month, EMC was one of several storage vendors to tell customers it would be raising the price of disk drives beginning this month for an indefinite period.

Tucci told investors, analysts and reporters on the call that the company plans to announce in two weeks the launch of its first PCIe flash card for servers, which the company had previously dubbed Project Lightning .

EMC’s server flash card is similar to what Fusion-io sells today , but it is specifically addressing acceleration of I/O between servers and backend storage.

EMC will also introduce new functionality, scalability and performance on its flagship Symmetrix VMAX storage array, as well as upgrades to its Isilon clustered NAS product. The company also plans to release a refresh of its Data Domain dedpulication appliance and Avamar deduplication software, and increase software capabilities and the performance of its entire VNX line of unified storage arrays, which allow both block- and file-level data storage.

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