With one announcement, EMC Corp. hopes to solidify its big data strategy while also convincing data scientists and investors that three closely aligned companies (EMC, Pivotal and VMware) are better than a big corporate breakup.

Central to the effort is EMC's new Federation Business Data Lake. The offering includes storage and analytics technologies from EMC, Pivotal and VMware. The big question: Can EMC make the Data Lake a hit with on-premises customers, while also selling the solution to cloud services providers (CSPs) that need to both compete and perhaps cooperate with VMware's own hybrid cloud services?

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