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May 3, 2016updated 05 Sep 2016 11:55am

EMC World keynote opens with focus on Dell acquisition and products while Michael Dell takes a pop at HP

Analysis: The keynote session at EMC world revealed a little more about the shape of the combined Dell EMC IT giant to come.

By Vinod

For what might be the last time, EMC took over Las Vegas for its annual conference, EMC World.

The show will one way or another be Joe Tucci’s last as CEO of EMC, that’s because the acquisition of EMC by Dell is on track with only two more hurdles to overcome.

Tucci, who helped introduce the conference with the tag line ‘Modernise’, spent a large portion of his keynote talking about history, where the company has come from and how the conferences have evolved over the years. This was of course a set up to look to the future and to Michael Dell, CEO of Dell.

Dell, who is hoping to complete the $67bn acquisition of EMC, was brought to the stage as a friend of Tucci and greeted with a hug. Much of the start of the conference felt a prolonged music video of a band that is splitting up, it was Tucci’s last hurrah to receive a standing ovation from the 10,000 strong audience as he symbolically handed over to Michael Dell.

It was curious to note a similarity between Dell’s starting focus of connected devices to that of OpenStack’s conference in Austin, Texas, which I attended last week. Both clearly want to own as much of the market as possible but Dell wants to have control from the edge to the core.

Dell held up the Internet of Things as a key part of the next industrial revolution before saying: "Dell and EMC is a major cloud infrastructure company…no one is more relevant or more able to bring value to your data centres."

So the market potential was outlined and Dell spent a large amount of time saying why the two companies will be better together, justifying the acquisition by saying that businesses don’t want more partners, they just want technology to be made simpler.
With that in mind, the name of the new mega tech company will be Dell Technologies and the enterprise side will be called Dell-EMC, there is no doubt who is the lead in this relationship.

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Although giving names to different parts of the company may suggest at an HP/HPE style split, this is not what is going on. Dell was keen to express that everything is uniting, before taking several pops at HP on the Client side, saying: "it’s pretty clear to see who’s winning and who is losing," and "while competitors like HP are shrinking their way to success…wait you can’t shrink your way to success."

These remarks didn’t appear to go down as well as Dell might have hoped, there were few if any laughs and little applause, but that competitive baiting may be something that the EMC community will just have to get used to.

Little attention was given to VMware, Pivotal or VCE as subsidiaries of EMC, but VMware and Pivotal at least were briefly mentioned as key components of the Dell-EMC family of companies, more attention will be given to VMware in due course.
Once Dell had departed the focus turned to the products and services that EMC will be hoping keeps its customers on board through its acquisition.

David Goulden, CEO EMC Storage Business who will take over as president of the combined Dell and EMC Enterprise Systems Group took to the stage to dispel the idea that the merger may be slowing innovation.

Goulden introduced EMC Unity, an all-flash storage system that is aimed at the mid-market before leading on to Virtustream developments.

Virtustream, which has been pitched as the best cloud for mission critical applications, fits into the family portfolio by providing its users with a public cloud. This, in-theory, means that the customers of Dell-EMC won’t have to look outside the product family for any of their needs.

Although this seems like a compelling proposition, the choice for customers isn’t an easy one and they will likely wait until questions are answered about price, performance, availability and flexibility are answered.

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