Editor’s note: EMC is banking on a new cloud architecture as the next step in its tech evolution, concludes a team of analysts from Technology Business Research which attended the recent EMC World event. As they point out in this final of four reports, EMC faces many changes as it gears up for a merger with Dell.

HAMPTON, N.H. – In an effort to better accommodate cloud-native customers, EMC announced its Native Hybrid Cloud architecture, a full cloud stack that offers IaaS and PaaS on top of EMC converged and hyperconverged infrastructure. The composability of the cloud stack, which can use OpenStack, vSphere or Virtustream to provision IaaS and delivers a PaaS layer via Pivotal, allows EMC to cater to customers that want to build their own solutions.

For customers that require less customizability of the underlying infrastructure and prefer to buy a prebuilt platform so they can leverage PaaS capabilities, EMC plans to deliver the Native Hybrid Cloud stack similar to its converged systems — completely integrated and ready to run Pivotal Cloud Foundry out of the box.

The release of EMC’s Native Hybrid Cloud architecture is significant, as it gives EMC a foundation for private cloud IaaS and PaaS and delivers a cohesive architecture to customers. Although EMC can offer limited public cloud managed services by plugging Virtustream into the equation, the vendor does not intend to go head-to-head in the public cloud arena. Instead, EMC will leverage its heritage in storage and VMware virtualization to deliver cloud to customers already familiar with its products.

The large breadth of products in EMC’s Native Hybrid Cloud architecture is also important. Many EMC and VMware customers have already purchased or built IaaS or PaaS solutions. The flexibility of the architecture will allow EMC to coexist with these solutions and integrate into customer cloud ecosystems that are increasingly hybrid and multicloud in nature. Putting Pivotal Cloud Foundry at the top of the architecture allows EMC to have a solutionsoriented conversation with IT and application developers that is more inclusive of line-of-business stakeholders, pushing EMC’s cloud capabilities farther up the value chain.

During what may be his final EMC World analyst session, CEO Joe Tucci said the federation’s portfolio was as strong and compelling as ever, likening the portfolio to the construction of an arrow where Pivotal forms the tip, VMware forms the shaft and EMC forms the fletching. TBR believes EMC does not intend to miss the mark with its Native Hybrid Cloud architecture. However, there remain challenges to overcome. Today, the architecture largely excludes customers that do not have some combination of EMC storage or VMware infrastructure, automatically excluding EMC from a portion of the addressable market for private and hybrid cloud solutions.

Another challenge lies with professional services. The vendor intends to use a combination of professional services across EMC, VMware and Pivotal to deliver design and implementation requirements and connect any necessary outside public cloud resources. We expect this to be a high-touch, resource-intensive approach. While this may be acceptable for a small amount of large enterprise customers, we believe the strategy will create significant pressure on EMC to build its professional services ecosystem to accommodate a growing customer base, which may require implementation services across not only EMC, but VMware, Pivotal and Virtustream as well.

Documentum continues to embrace cloud

Documentum and EMC’s Enterprise Content Division continue refining the portfolio around cloud consumption models. After four years in service, Documentum as a Service continues to gain traction. The solution achieved annual growth in the high double digits during 2015, although it is a relatively small portion of the Documentum customer base, which remains largely on-premises. Bolstering the traditional Documentum product line is a new set of SaaS applications called Leap, which provides a platform of five applications designed to address individual content collaboration use cases.

The combination of Documentum as a Service and Leap applications represents a significant change in EMC’s enterprise content management strategy. As on-premises Documentum customers transition to the “as a Service” version, bolting on SaaS applications that leverage content from Documentum and other repositories will be a smooth upsell for EMC. The major challenge will be replicating any custom systems and applications customers have put in place to manage their legacy environments. EMC will continue to rely on partners to help design and build any highly customized systems, which may add another level of complexity to the transition.

The addition of Leap gives EMC a bigger voice in the story of digital transformation, opening new channels to market — particularly in the SMB tier — where Documentum has struggled to gain traction. The addition of Dell technology also creates interesting prospects for EMC’s Enterprise Content Division. We believe Documentum will benefit from enhanced integration opportunities with Dell’s security solutions, enhancing its ability to differentiate with highly compliant and secure document management solutions, particularly for mobility.


EMC is driving forward with a strategy that serves customers’ existing data and virtualization requirements. Meanwhile, the company exhibits an increasing tolerance for cannibalization and disruption in the form of turnkey offerings and is presenting a more refined, articulate vision around cloud-native application life cycle requirements. In the near term, EMC will focus on preserving its execution and cachet across storage, virtualization, big data analytics and Platform as a Service as its planned acquisition by Dell approaches. The company’s longer-term success, post-merger, will depend on joint cultural, portfolio and go-to-market evolution alongside the legacy Dell business to capture net-accretive opportunities.