Recently, Enterprise Executive met with EMC to discuss the company’s role in the mainframe environment, its strategic direction, and the storage solutions it provides to the enterprise mainframe market. Brian Gallagher, president of the Enterprise Storage Division, joined EMC in 1985 and assumed his current role in 2010. The Enterprise Storage Division is responsible for the architecture, design, development, support, and marketing of some of EMC’s most innovative and fastest growing products and software, including the Symmetrix VMAX family and the VPLEX virtual storage technology. Gallagher received a Bachelor of Science degree in Electrical Engineering from Tufts University and a Master of Science degree in Electrical and Computer Engineering from Worcester Polytechnic Institute. He has been awarded 23 U.S. patents.
Also participating in this interview is Al Brandt, vice president of DLm Engineering. Brandt came to EMC in 2010 as a result of EMC’s acquisition of Bus-Tech. While at Bus-Tech, he was president of the company, overseeing its transformation from a mainframe networking company to a storage products company. Prior to Bus-Tech, Brandt held various executive and engineering roles at IBM.
Enterprise Executive: How do you see EMC’s role in the mainframe environment?
Brian Gallagher: We have a long history in the mainframe environment and in enterprise data centers. This history dates back more than 25 years to when we first introduced technology in the late ’80s that revolved around mainframe storage. Since then, we’ve developed a trusted partner status with our enterprise clients that’s characterized by deep relationships with mainframe customers around the globe. Our mainframe customers have been instrumental in providing input on their needs that we’ve systematically incorporated into our technology. One example is the development of cached disk arrays to improve performance. Since then, we’ve continued to include the high-end requirements we receive from our customer base into our data replication, business continuity, high availability, and security technologies. All of this development has centered around the mainframe.
Today, the four cornerstones of our mainframe information systems are VMAX enterprise storage with the Symmetrix Remote Data Facility [SRDF] for remote data replication and disaster recovery and GDDR [Geographical Dispersed Disaster Restart]; the Disk Library for mainframe tape/backup data; Connectrix, which provides FICON [Fibre] connectivity for purposes of data backups; and a capable professional services group that provides assistance with consulting, training, and implementation. We will continue to invest heavily in all of these areas because they’re strategically important to our company and to our customers and prospects.
We also recently renewed our System z license agreement with IBM. This investment is a continuing commitment to our customers that we recognize and will continue to deliver value to the mainframe community. This also gives enterprises flexibility in the options they consider for mainframe computing needs.
EE: Al, since joining EMC from Bus-Tech, how has the Disk Library for mainframe evolved?
Al Brandt: Bus-Tech and EMC already had a longstanding relationship when we joined EMC in 2010. Bus-Tech technology integrated well with the EMC storage platform, and we’ve continued to leverage new development from the EMC asset base. We started off with VNX support and moved on to integration with Data Domain [DD] for data deduplication, and now we have a solution that can be used in both standard and deduplicative storage environments.
More recently, we’ve added the capability of encrypting data from a tape protocol perspective by leveraging RSA Key Management. Being able to offer all these capabilities to the enterprise market with the full EMC sales and support organization working with us has been tremendous. It has exposed us to some of the largest data centers in the world. In the course of this exposure, we’ve been able to answer the question of how VMAX, DD, and VNX unified storage fit with Disk Library and the tape world.
Enterprises want synergy between tape and disk storage, especially in mainframe environments where both of these storage technologies play vital roles. This contrasts with the open systems world, where tape is used almost exclusively for backup and where consistency of data and data handling between tape and disk aren’t as emphasized. We will continue to listen to our customers as we move the product forward.