EMC's focus still on virtualization, security

Kashya purchase, new services part of strategy

EMC continued its buying spree last week by picking up Kashya, maker of data replication and protection software, for $153 million, and the Interlink Group, a professional services firm that specializes in Microsoft environments.

The deals are the latest in a string of acquisitions that have extended the company’s reach so far beyond its storage hardware roots that it now considers IBM to be its primary rival for data management, storage, and protection.

Experts, however, are divided on how well EMC is uniting all of its acquired technologies into a coherent vision.

Privately held Kashya squarely aligns with EMC’s acquisition of Rainfinity, a file virtualization company, in 2005, and its purchase of VMware in 2004. Those deals established EMC as a player in the server virtualization arena, particularly within the x86 market.

Kashya’s disaster recovery and replication technology will support EMC’s Invista network-based block storage virtualization product. Kashya’s CDP (continuous data protection) technology will be used as the engine for future releases of EMC RecoverPoint, EMC said in a statement.

Like its acquisition of Internosis in January, EMC’s purchase of Interlink will add services and technology to the company’s growing Microsoft practice, especially around Microsoft’s Dynamics customer relationship management software, EMC  representatives said.

“Our strategy is to protect information from the time it’s created until the time it’s destroyed,” said David DeWalt, president of the EMC Software Group. The company recently unveiled its Security Assessment Services and digital rights management software, which build on technology purchased with Authentica earlier this year.

“It’s an interesting vision, and I think they’ve been executing on it very well,” said Charles King, an analyst at the Pund-IT consultancy. “EMC has made it clear that its goal is to play a central role in information management. It wants to shift the conversation away from storage hardware to how it’s creating a hardware and software matrix that allows customers to better manage and protect information creatively and efficiently.”

“The good news about acquiring companies is you get there more quickly,” said Gartner analyst Robert Passmore. “The bad news is things don’t always work together … One thing that helps (EMC) is that the quality of their acquisitions has been quite high. But it’s a mixed bag. The serious engineering and integration is still going to take time.”