EMC to Unveil Products Challenging Cloud-Storage Sellers

EMC Corp. said it’s introducing new products that will be offered via a faster and more simplified buying process, challenging the appeal of Web-based computing services from Amazon.com Inc. and other cloud providers.

The product initiative, called Project Nile, will introduce machines in the first half of next year, Jeremy Burton, executive vice president at EMC, said in an interview. Customers can choose storage for files, databases or the Web and receive a complete system within 48 hours, he said.

Companies are looking for ways to store data generated by Internet applications that run transactions, store content and analyze data. While providers such as Amazon and Microsoft Corp. offer online services for such tasks without complex management, there hasn’t been a product for customers seeking to keep their data in-house along with the easy ordering and management benefits of Web-based services, according to Richard Villars, an analyst at market-research firm IDC.

“Cloud providers have given customers scale, and they can pick and choose across four different types of storage, without having to manage four different incompatible systems,” Villars said. “EMC is making a bet they can provide the same kind of system.”

Burton said EMC isn’t losing sales to cloud providers right now. While that’s true, existing customers are opting for Internet-based storage as they build new applications, putting EMC at risk of losing out on growth, Villars said.

EMC, based in Hopkinton, Massachusetts, is offering the new types of storage to boost sales as demand slows for its traditional and priciest products. The company said in March that revenue will rise by at least 8 percent annually through 2016.

Market Growth

The high-end of the market will only grow 1 percent to 3 percent a year, EMC forecast, while the emerging market for newer types of storage will increase more than 25 percent in the same period.

Burton said the new range of products will cost customers 40 percent to 60 percent less than public cloud options. Villars said the jury is still out on that figure, given that the new machines aren’t even on sale yet.

“Whether they can provide at same price point, they’ve got to prove that, and that will take a number of years,” Villars said. “Can they provide the same kind of agility and flexibility? That’s what they’re trying to solve.”

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