EMC World 2014 – Post Conference Thoughts

I’ve had a week now to gather my thoughts since EMC World, as well as to catch up on some sleep and get back into the UK timezone! Before the conference I posted about
3 things which I hoped I would find out more about so I’ll address those first:

Syncplicity – Clearly the rising star in the EMC IIG portfolio but the integration of the product into the rest of the brand is not yet there. Whenever Syncplicity was
pitched I still got the feeling its a new shiny product which is very good at what it does but is not fully integrated into the rest of the stack. I know it is
technically integrated but perception is as important as the technical aspects.

InfoArchive – This came across as one of the big plays from IIG, largely due to the compelling business case which can be generated for the product. The success
stories which were quoted were very compelling. The question of Pivotal remains though and while I did see it mentioned a few times as an area to investigate the
answer is not there yet. Having said that the impression which I came away with was that the product is seeing such strong momentum right now that its going to be
around for a few years.

Social and Collaboration – I was surprised to see the eRoom brand on the screen in the keynote, again its not because it is a bad product but more that its been
discussed as potential end of life for 10 years now. Despite a lack of, perceived, investment it remains part of the portfolio. I didn’t hear anything which suggested
that the Social and Collaboration space was an area which EMC would focus on.

So those are the things I was hoping to hear about, what did we actually hear about:

General – The theme of the conference was about how EMC can help customers manage the 2nd platform, bridge the gap to the 3rd platform and ultimately be the
Information ‘Fabric’ for the 3rd platform. Fabric’s my word and wasn’t used by EMC I should add! Pivotal was at the centre of this and in Joe Tucci’s keynote the
Pivotal brand was strong.

xCP – This is a product which I have followed for some time now and the information provided on xCP 2.1 whilst not completely new to me was still interesting and
highlights the advances EMC have made in the platform. At present this remains a 2nd platform play in EMC’s eyes.

InfoArchive – I’ve mentioned this already and this they see as the enabler for the bridge from 2nd to 3rd platform. Helping customers to move from the 2nd platform
through removing the applications but keeping the information.

APaaS – this was the new play from EMC. Well I say new play and a lot of the detail is new but some of the concepts have been kicking around for a while now, Next Generation Informatoin Server was something which was first touted back in Lisbon. Firstly, what is it:

APaaS

The idea is to move Content and Collaborative Apps into a true SaaS platform, with multi-tenancy and exposed on top of similar technology to the Pivotal stack, ultimately helping organisations to bring together their Data and Content Services. The focus is very much on solutions and apps. The strategy from EMC is not to release the platform but to build a number of content based solutions on the platform to help them develop the core services. The first of these is the Supplier Exchange.

This is a big move from EMC and while the people I heard were keen to stress this is not the end of Documentum I would envisage that if they get this right then in the future there will be much fewer customers using the traditional Documentum platform. But this takes time and as I said its been over 3 years since NGIS was first introduced. The tactic of releasing apps based on the platform before the platform itself will give the impression that things are moving quicker which is positive.

APaaS was my biggest takeaway from Momentum 2014 but some of the other snippets I heard/was interested in:

- some frustration and the lack of alignment between D2 and xCP, it would be much better if there was a true single UI;

- continued investment in Captiva and a continued push to get customers to exploit the capability in Captiva including Mobile Capture;

- a desire to move forward solutions on IIG technology which are more innovative, higlighted by the keynote and the impressive demo for Patient Care which was given in the keynote;

- a definite move to align things with Pivotal, APaaS above shows that but I understand there are other moves in place such as how InfoArchive aligns.

So on that last point, and one question which was mooted before the conference, was whether EMC were considering selling off IIG. My take in the short term is no but the alignment with Pivotal is a very strong signal of what might happen. If anything I don’t foresee a selling but a realignment within the EMC Federation which was a very strong message within the overall EMC World conference.

Momentum 2010 – Cloud Strategy for xCP

Apologies for the delay in this post but following Momentum I had a week off to spend time with the family, and I wanted to make sure that time was spent with them and not writing more blog posts.

This is the last post on a specific session and covers a session which was presented by Randy Hodge on Wednesday, it was a late session but was still relatively well attended. Randy is a knowledgeable guy and the presentation was good in that it came across as someone who knows their stuff and not necessarily someone who has been presented with a message to give.

Firstly I must say that this was really a presentation on strategy so there is no commitment that what was presented will actually come to fruition.

Firstly Randy justified the move to cloud as a need to reduce the pain which customers feel and to reduce the crippling TCO. Reducing this TCO of services will stop the current situation of too much money being spent on maintenance and not enough on investment opportunities.

In talking about Cloud Randy then talked about how to consider the EMC IIG stack and the message I took is that xCP is PaaS and something like the Investigative Case Management solution is SaaS. Generally I agreed with the messaging here but there were a few things which we could quibble about, e.g. where does Captiva fit in. EMC are seeing customer demand for the cloud especially in xCP and customers are making moves to deploy xCP applications to the cloud in areas such as Justice, FS and Health. Similarly IIG want to move customers to the cloud.

xCP for the cloud will:

  • evangelise xCP on VMWare;
  • drive down TCO and increase agility;
  • revolutionise the way applications are developed and deployed;
  • evolve the ecosystem model;

He then announced that xCP is now VMWare ready.

He described how xCP in the cloud will drive down costs, Virtualisation can do this too but Cloud can further drive down costs.

The characteristics of a successful cloud solution, as defined by NIST, are:

  • Rapid elasticity;
  • Resource Pooling (multi-tenancy);
  • Measured Service;
  • On demand self service;
  • Ubiquitous network access

He then talked about multi-tenancy and how that can be achieved. This was interesting as Randy and I had discussed this earlier in the week and I think this still needs a bit of refinement, my belief that the number of tenants does not drive whether a solution should be considered multi-tenant or not although it is one factor. Imagine a scenario with two organisations wanting to share an ECM repository but with different business processes yet the content subject to the same Policies for retention. Randy talked about the Dedicated Repository Model or the Shared Repository Model, my problem below would need some thinking about how to resolve (perhaps Federated RM is the way forward there?).

Another interesting statement was that EMC want to provide services which can be consumed elsewhere, so the EMC app may not be the primary application which users interact with but could provide an element of the overall business process. I am seeing this more and more and the introduction of CMIS will, I think, increase the number of scenarios where this is applicable.

Finally Randy showed a diagram and used it to explain the various models which xCP in the Cloud will be delivered. Unfortunately my notes do not do justice to the diagram so I will attempt to describe it instead:

  • Traditional model where SI’s build an application based on xCP and deploy it to the Cloud which is then accessed by end users;
  • A model where ISV’s develop apps built on xCP and deploy these to an App Store from where they are purchased and accessed by users;
  • A model where xCP is deployed within the Cloud and the services are exposed and then consumed through custom applications which may or may not be deployed in another cloud.

As I say that doesn’t really do the session justice, I felt as though it was an interesting session and given that I have asked EMC before about Cloud it is something they need to get moving on and get moving quickly.

Momentum 2010 – Keynote

Right so it has taken a couple of days to get this write up done, mainly due to the huge amount of time which I have spent at Momentum talking to customers, more on that in another post.

As I said in my post on the Partner Day I was really hoping that IIG would use the Keynote to make the change from Mark to Rick and to show a vision for the next 5 years and a plan to execute on that. So did the Keynote achieve this, in my view it missed the mark by some distance on those points. I’m not actually going to go into too much detail on the presentation as I got the feeling that it was Mark’s view on the IT primarily, and a vision for IIG secondly. Now I may be being too harsh here and Mark did say at the start that this was a 2 part session to a degree, with Rick and Jeetu’s in the pm session. I guess my problem is that IIG had the chance to set the tone right from the start, for Mark to do a short piece on his achievements and for the stage to be cleared for Rick to deliver the impact statements. Either the announcement was badly timed on the changes in position or somebody did not really consider the impact of not having Rick doing the majority of this session.

What made this worse is that prior to this session I had been to Rohit and Jeroen’s session on Architecture and had come out of that session with strong belief that IIG were making a major move to a new vision, the Keynote was a big letdown following that session.

In the keynote itself Mark introduced the 3 layer stack which I have mentioned previously. He reiterated the Mission was to “help customers get maximum leverage from information”. He also said EMC will be:

- cloud optimised;

- an Information Intelligence platform primarily composed of Case Management and Information Governance (note no note of ECM);

- a next generation UI framework;

Mark had 7 recommendations for IT people:

1. Reduce Opex;

2. Support User Choice;

3. Simplify Provisioning and User Experience;

4. Ensure Governance and Compliance;

5. Create and Leverage a 360 degree view on customers;

6. Force IT to move away from low value to more strategic services;

7. Look to IT for delivery of transformative business solutions.

We then had the usual invited guests, one customer and one analyst, before Whitney wrapped up.

As s disclaimer I must say I did not attend the afternoon keynote from Rick Devenuti and Jeetu Patel, so if the impact message was given there then my view on this is not complete. But actually I think that even if it had I feel this was a missed opportunity. Mark Lewis has no doubt put a lot of effort into EMC IIG and he deserved the recognition for his efforts, however in this Keynote that should have been the start and would have enabled Rick to really launch the new dawn of IIG. I wanted more on the vision and I wanted more on the plans to get there, the messages were too generic in my view and a number of them would have been applicable at many different software and hardware vendor presentations.

Its a real shame as I have found the conference since the keynote to be excellent and there is a real buzz about the new direction, unfortunately the buzz was not there as the main auditorium dispersed for lunch on the first day, it has grown in the time since then.

Momentum 2010 – Documentum Architecture

So the Documentum Architecture session has traditionally been one of the busiest at the Momentum conference, and in spite of the 8.45 am start this was the case in Lisbon as well. The session was presented by Rohit Ghai and Jeroen van Rotterdam. Rohit started by saying that the session wasn’t at the right time as it was going to provide more detail on the technical keynote which had not yet been given. (Note to conference schedulers, put the sessions in order and give this highlight session the slot it deserves).

Rohit put some context onto the development of the products, some Business and some Technical. He explained that they had identified three waves of focus in each of these. The Business Context was Collaboration, Compliance, Content and IT. The Technical Context was Datacenter Architecture, Application Architecture, Web and UI and Endpoints. For each of these Contexts Rohit described how the world has evolved and what this means – so for example content has moved from paper digitisation, through word docs to rich and social media.

Rohit then introduced the new stack:

UI Layer – Modular User Interfaces

Composite Application Layer – Case based applications

Information Services Infrastructure – Cloud, Information Types

Interestingly Rohit mentioned that EMc want to provide the compliance layer for all information, and he touted the idea of using EMC as the Compliance tool for information such as Googledocs, I’ve mentioned in the past how Googledocs could do with this…didn’t think EMC could play in this area but nice idea.

Jeroen then took to the stage and said he wanted to give us a sneak preview of where they are heading, this was not intended to be a roadmap. Currently EMC provide a centralised architecture, they want to move away from this:

- to be the platform for hybrid cloud deployment;

I’ve heard cloud mentioned a few times at the conference and sometimes too many people think cloud is virtualisation, Jeroen was clear on this…it is more than that, and yes we need multi tenancy.

Xplore

Jeroen then gave a brief introduction on XPlore, GA on 1st November! He talked about the current architecture and how the new architecture is very similar and the existing XML extraction technology will be used as well as the existing DFTXML format. Interestingly XPlore has been built as a standalone search engine, it will not need Documentum to run. Lucene is heavily embedded into the architecture, but is deep within the architecture. For more info on XPlore Jeroen recommended one of the XPlore sessions.

UI

After a quick recap on the Centerstage architecture Jeroen confirmed that xCP 2.0 will be built on the RCMP model, however he did note that they will not forget their WDK users and will look to achieve backwards compatibility…although this will be a challenge. He talked about the performance challenges in Centerstage 1.0 but these have now been resolved. MediaWorkspace and Centerstage will in the future work on the same technology and with data tables now in Centerstage they will look to help customers migrate from eRoom to Centerstage. Basically it looks as though we will finally see a rationalisation of the user interfaces which EMC provide. The Long Term UI strategy is:

- Client – Native RIA

- Developer – Spring IDE (Eclipse)

- Admin – Hyperiv + vCenter

Jeroen then described the EMC Cloud Information Services Strategy, and for this cloud means:

- scale out;

- multi-tenancy;

- no 3rd Party SW components, yep thats right, no more reliance on Oracle or MS for the DB or on other vendors for the App Server…simplification and cost reduction, yay!

- no downtime;

- dynamic provisioning;

- virtualisation;

- billing & metering;

Unfortunately at this stage Jeroen had ran out of time, despite a whole host more material to cover, some things I picked up on were XACML in xDB11 and even more interesting is the end of the Content Server, it will be the Information Server in the future. If this means the ability to do true structured and unstructured in one repositoy with one set of policies to manage this…well that is exciting.

Overall this was an excellent session and for anyone who has worked with Documentum for a long time should be enough to give the taste of the future, and it sounds incredibly bright. I will do more to write my opinion on the session in coming days but its been a busy day and I still need to write up the morning keynote from Mark Lewis.  I won’t get all my write-ups done this week so some will need to wait, and I look forward to reading other people’s views on the conference. Day 2 is now done and I am pleased with what I have seen thus far. So in answer to the question posted here, the thing I most enjoyed about Momentum on Day 2, for me, was the passion and excitement which the EMC team demonstrated in their vision for the future of IIG and a realisation that there will be change, and it will be a change for the good. If EMC can demonstrate and maintain this passion while delivering these changes then as a partner I can help to get customers excited and help to get them investing in EMC solutions. Good stuff.