EMC World 2014 – Social Village Meetup with John Roese, EMC CTO

Meeting with John Roese, CTO of EMC – early prolific blogger. With EMC for the last 1-2 years — with Huawei before then, then Broadcom, Nortel, etc.

Is the first executive in Canada to have a non-supervised blog – around the same time as Jonathan Schwartz.

Exec in Nortel came to him and asked him to help drive exposure – worked out a process where he brought out his own content with only an hour delay for legal review. Eventually they phased out the legal review as built trust.

Over time his blog drove more traffic than the Nortel main site – insane. Had to take the lumps on early blogging challenges – moderating comments, people who didn’t like Nortel, retirees who lost pensions, etc.

Shadow blogs started to come out of the woodwork – one that really didn’t like Nortel at all. But John started engaging on that blog even.

More after the jump…

After Nortel, went to Huawei — they hadn’t done much social media. It was very one-way. Some execs did micro-blogs but was more personally focused. Go check out the 2010 Twitter archives for “AsiaD” — Mossberg/Swisher conference that’s AllThingsD for Asia. After presenting there, John had an open session about “what’s next?”. Things at the time were very flat so started to discuss gesture technology, depth in technology, etc. John mentioned 1 of 100 projects he had on tap – but mentioned to bloggers and it went viral, really viral.

It went from a Hong Kong hotel conversation to 300-400 streams within a day – then into trade magazines, etc. One conversation to non-stop calls for the next month from various internal Huawei folks about how to get access to the project. Previous to this John had been trying to unsuccessfully evangelize this project inside the company – this blew the doors open. Social media = way to circumvent poor internal communications processes.

Steve Todd, EMC Fellow, is here as well (1 of 3 fellows). Steve works with John to help EMC’s Point of View get out into the world – created a group called VisionX.

Sidebar back with Nortel – Nortel was dominant in CDMA which was going away into LTE (as well as GSM going into LTE). Ericsson and others were trying to delay LTE in favor of more versions of GSM for competitive reasons. John brought in FCC commissioner to show him what was coming. At Mobile World CTO keynote in 2008, multiple execs were asked “when is LTE coming and what app?”. Most of them said 2015 for competitive reasons and made up a reason. John said 2010 and for every app that’s wired only.

Fast forward – Verizon did this in 2010. What’s the LTE killer app? Every app.

Later inside scoop – John’s comment did influence Verizon on making this jump.

DSSD – it’s really a point of view exercise (no, no NDA details on it here). Designed for ultra-highend environments – not really designed for today’s applications. Exception = SAP HANA today. EMC’s Point of View is that a lot will happen in this space although don’t know when — there are lots of “in-memory” applications coming – bounded by limitations of CPU’s and motherboards.

DSSD = big bet on in-memory architectures although don’t know what the applications will be – think that making DSSD available sooner will accelerate these applications happening. But…hard to know after the fact for sure if DSSD caused that or not…

Virtualized Isilon – more discussion of this…see Area 52 notes from yesterday. Isilon running on Amazon EC2 or into any hardware.

EMC is largely focused on expanding the pie – it’s not seen as a zero-sum game internally.

Over 20 different initiatives inside the company to make everything software only – virtual Isilon, virtual VPLEX, virtual VNX, etc. Company-wide goal from EMC.

So what is EMC’s cloud strategy? EMC believes that the winner in cloud is whoever achieves seamlessness first – letting workloads move between public and private clouds with no user disruption. This is very, very difficult today.

Question from me around social media’s purpose – circumvent bad internal communication, get info to customers, or both? EMC’s social media strategy – acceptance of reasonable risk in social media. Pretty progressive overall – no corporate top level strategy….believe that by having EMC folks out having the dialogue it’s good on balance. 

And now a Register story – Roese presenting in Australia about “hot edge” and “cold core” data. Register took it as “CTO demotes VMAX”….the article wasn’t bad but the headline was sensational.

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