Editor’s note: Last week at EMC World, the tech giant disclosed much more than plans for the company post-merger with privately held Dell when chairman Michael Dell renames the combined company Dell Technologies. EMC is hardly disappearing with new products and services coming, note a team of analysts from Technology Business Research. In part two of an in-depth analysis, TBR looks at how EMC is building a data bridge to meet client needs now – and the next generation to come.

EMC positions to bridge customers’ current and next-generation data environments

HAMPTON, N.H. – EMC appears to recognize the disruptive impact that demand for business outcomes delivered “as a Service” has on underlying IT infrastructure, but it also understands the value to customers of running certain business-critical applications on-premises using traditional infrastructure. In response, the vendor aligned its storage portfolio road map around four key areas (flash, scale-out, software-defined and cloud-enabled) to protect its vast traction in traditional, on-premises applications, while expanding to support cloud-native applications and “as a Service” delivery. TBR finds this approach prudent, as it positions EMC to retain its existing beachhead while strategically tapping higher-growth, high-value opportunities around private and hybrid cloud.

EMC increasingly blends hardware and software investments to deliver optimization in areas such as mission critical application performance and data protection. For example, in addition to investing heavily in its portfolio of flash-based systems, EMC is bringing a number of virtual applications to market and continuing to refine its ViPR software-defined storage controller to support consumption flexibility and bridge customers’ increasingly heterogeneous environments.

EMC augments this product-led view with its comparatively newer Virtustream cloud services organization. While EMC will continue to partner for managed and public cloud services, it recognizes an opportunity to provide service-level agreement (SLA) guarantees and increase efficiency for dataintensive applications such as SAP.

As such, EMC continues to modernize its on-premises, hardware-grounded roots; what remains to be seen is how EMC’s expanded capabilities and momentum will become integrated into Dell’s vast network of software-defined data center partners and into its strategy as a hybrid cloud provider. EMC’s increasing focus on providing open source technologies and supporting collaborative development with partners will help facilitate smoother integration, but coopetitive dynamics will remain for the Dell-EMC organization to manage.

EMC’s sharpened focus on modern storage requirements facilitates the launch of Unity

Unity, EMC’s storage array product line launched at EMC World 2016, encapsulates the vendor’s focus on designing for modern IT requirements — simplicity, affordability and flexibility. Most notably, Unity leverages centralized, automated and proactive management that integrates with third-party platforms from key vendors such as Microsoft and VMware to deliver an agile and simple, cloud-like experience for IT administrators.

The value proposition of saving customers time through reducing the IT administrative burden is supported by aggressive pricing (it has a sub-$10,000 starting price point); support of file, block and VMware Virtual Volumes; and dense, flexible configurations.

The array can be delivered as a stand-alone or converged system leveraging all-flash or hybrid spinning disk and flash hardware. It can also be delivered as a virtual appliance. EMC will target Unity primarily at small to midmarket customers, allowing EMC to reaccelerate growth in the space against stiff competition from niche vendors such as Pure Storage and Nimble Storage, as well as mainstream peers such as HPE, with Unity’s more modern design, lower price point and heightened scalability compared to EMC’s previous offerings. Unity joins the VNX platform in EMC’s midmarket-focused portfolio.

EMC will continue to update and support VNX, but TBR believes EMC recognized the need among midmarket customers for lower price points and greater simplicity and, as a result, developed Unity. We expect EMC to focus its investment heavily on Unity, and that Unity will grow to become a leading revenue contributor for EMC in the midmarket — especially when combined with Dell’s prowess in SMB and midsized enterprise customer accounts.

EMC counts cloud service provider Rackspace as an early Unity customer, augmenting the additional revenue streams EMC is targeting in the midmarket through the product. This underscores the accretive opportunities EMC is generating by aligning its portfolio and market messaging around speeding time to revenue to attract new customers to its portfolio.