Here’s the deal: EMC has a lot of cool stuff. Lots of it came through acquisitions. Lots of it runs on the x86 platform, believe it or not.
At the moment one needs to buy multiple boxes from EMC to do NAS, SAN, archiving, etc.
Imagine if you got instead generic boxes (with their power relative to their cost, there could be a few models).
In each box you could run a Clariion, Centera, Celerra, a print server, WAAS (even though it’s Cisco it’s really a Linux box), something like Recoverpoint, and so on.
All the products could be custom Virtual Machine Appliances, possibly running on a modified ESX platform (so you can’t just run them anywhere). You’d get all the benefits of cool technologies such as VMotion and HA. You could easily add to it.
This doesn’t preclude the use of specialized hardware to accelerate certain functions, though in this age of quad-core CPUs even that may be unnecessary.
Think about it. EMC owns the IP for all that technology.
They don’t need to make less money – if anything, since all the platforms would be virtual, production would be greatly streamlined. They could even have a single type of box (say a quad quad with tons of RAM and expansion capability) as the hardware. You need more speed for NAS? Add an extra box, an extra license and load-balance a new virtual data mover.
This of course is unattainable at the moment – I don’t think VMware can provide such low latency and high throughput but maybe I’m wrong.
Such a move won’t fix the proliferation of management interfaces, but EMC could build a common interface.