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Q&A: EMC's Mark Lewis on virtualization, competition

He expects the company's Invista software to gain traction by '07

October 18, 2005 12:00 PM ET

Computerworld - Mark Lewis, chief development officer at EMC Corp., spoke to Computerworld this week about EMC's Invista virtualization software. Invista promises to pool storage resources behind switches from multiple vendors. But EMC has yet to ship the product -- which it announced earlier this year -- in bulk, even though IBM began selling its own SAN Volume Controller virtualization technology more than two years ago. Lewis also addressed recent announcements by IBM and Cisco Systems Inc. that they expect to sell virtualization products for the entire data center, from servers to back-end storage.
There seem to be a lot of delays in getting the Invista virtualization technology out. What's the holdup?
No. We're really where we wanted to be with it. We announced it and said we'd announce it. We said it would be very limited availability this year. We didn't expect material impact. We didn't want or expect any volume ramp. We said customers should put it in development environments and said it was enterprise customers. It's undergoing evaluation. At such point in time they choose to deploy and reference and all that, we'll be providing that information too. It's where we want it in the early release status. At least we're trying to be forthright that that was our expectation.
So you're not experiencing hurdles in getting this out? We very much acknowledged this was a major tech advancement. It involved new switch intelligence and a new product from us. We really tried to set the V1 expectations for this and virtualization in general. It's one of those things that I consider one of the hottest core technologies in the market today. VMware, our acquisition of Rainfinity, Invista -- hottest market today. Especially in the SAN space, we know it's going to be something that is [a] late 2006-, 2007-type of technology. We have a lot of customers looking at it. We have a reasonable number that have it in their development centers.
When can customers expect to see Invista be generally available? It's going to depend on our customers' development cycles. [General availability] will just be at the point in time when our customers want to put it into production.
You really feel it's not going to be ready for prime time until late 2006 or 2007? The virtualization market in general, yes, but I think the product itself will start deployments into production environments early next year. The difference is that we don't expect quantities to be significant or there to be a lot of major adoptions until the 2007 time

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