We hosted our second annual CTO Roundtable at VMworld2014. The EMC Office of the CTO hosts these type of events to interact directly with our customers, and partners. Meeting with customers and partners is required for our team.
Our CTO Roundtable @VMWorld2014 event was our largest ever. Fourteen customers and partners from the financial, healthcare, manufacturing, and IT service provider industries met with EMC Global CTO, John Roese during lunch on the third day of VMworld2014. We wanted to meet after most of the announcements planned for the show were public. We kicked off the event with remarks by John describing his two years at EMC. He reviewed the three businesses: Pivotal, VMware, and EMCII that constitute EMC today. Over the past two years we have re-organized EMC into a federation of three companies with new leadership for each. John believes customers want choice in their IT stack; one size does not fit all. With the federation structure each of the EMC's businesses is motivated to create the best products for their target market while also collaborating with the other EMC product teams. John pointed to the growth of the Cloud Foundry Foundation that governs the direction of the industry leading Platform as a Service solution. If Cloud Foundry's governance continued exclusive to Pivotal it would have never achieved the broad industry support some of which are VMware, and EMCII competitors. In order for Pivotal to grow and our customers to benefit from wide industry support the Cloud Foundry Foundation needed to be created and leverage support from competitors to other parts of the EMC federation companies. John did acknowledge that EMC needed to do a much better job communicating the federation strategy to the industry. EMC will be much more pro-active in engaging the industry about our federation strategy. Shortly after VMworld2014, EMC CEO, Joe Tucci gave an extensive interview to ComputerWorld describing the federation and EMC strategy here. John told our audience they should expect us to release a series of product bundles that leverage products from across the EMC federation companies as turnkey solutions. Many of these solutions were featured prominently at the VMworld Solution Exchange as EMC Federation solutions.
During the roundtable discussion our customers and partners discussed the challenges next generation Mobile and Big Data applications were having on their current IT infrastructure. In the past, well run IT organization implemented Application Portfolio Management often with governance models that drove application consolidation to reduce costs. Today many IT organizations are seeing application portfolio growing rapidly. If IT tells the business they can't deploy a new app, the business will turn to an external service provider and deploy it rapidly for little initial investment. This is resulting in IT having to maintain more applications and with more diverse IT infrastructure optimized for different application types. This is driving a greater focus by IT to introduce operations automation and abstraction technologies like Docker, and Cloud Foundry. These abstraction technologies allow developers to build applications independent of the underlying physical infrastructure. This is makes applications and data more portable while allowing IT to automate deployment, management, and monitoring leveraging API's and built in automation functions of these tools. John cautioned the audience to be diligent inspecting these technologies to keep proprietary hooks from being added. Long term this will hurt the industry and customers.
The group was eager to discuss the potential impact to infrastructure availability with the increased use of commodity hardware. EMC has provided industry leading quality and service over the years enabling IT to deliver ever increasing availability to their customers. The audience asked John how EMC will enable availability and service as they transition to purchasing software from EMC that will be run on commodity hardware. Many analogies were made to the transition the industry experienced with virtualizing compute using VMware. Better protection and availability features are added to the software like VMware High Availability, Fault Tolerance, vMotion, and Distributed Resource Scheduling to support larger fault domains and less reliable hardware. In the long term the IT infrastructure became more reliable.
The last topic the group discussed was the struggles many are starting to experience with traditional data backup paradigms. The volume of digital data they are managing is exploding. Many were starting to experiment with snapshots and remote replica's in place of traditional backups. John discussed need for consolidation of IT meta data tracking all copies of primary data. Several months ago EMC consolidated all its data protection products including backup tools (Networker, Avamar, and Data Domain) with our replication tools (RecoverPoint, and VPLEX) into a single business unit. We need to consolidate our data protection metadata to provide a single view of all copies of data. EMC is starting to make substantial progress with our Data Protection Advisor which presents a consolidated view of your backup and replica that can be used for restore. Also EMC ProtectPoint is an important new technology. We added intelligence to our VMAX to automatically copy primary data to protection storage without moving the data through the compute and application layer. This architecture greatly improves backup performance, and provides a consolidated meta data repository of all copies of your primary data.
The feedback from the participants was outstanding. Customers appreciated the opportunity to interact with EMC Global CTO, John Roese in a small setting as well their industry peers. This is also a great opportunity for EMC to learn and validate our direction with our customers and partners. We run several of these events regularly throughout the year. Feedback from these events is captured and analyzed. The topics our customers wanted to discuss including EMC Federation Strategy, and impacts of next generation applications is consistent with the trends we've seen throughout this year. The need for new data protection paradigms has been a consistent theme most recently. The impact to IT availability with the reliance on commodity hardware was new and likely created with the focus on the software defined data center theme at VMworld2014. The feedback from these events is one of the ways that EMC validates our strategy, and product plans. These types of events make us more effective and a better partner to our customers.