October 2, 2012 - EMC CEO Joe Tucci led off the second full day of Oracle OpenWorld 2012 with a keynote address about his company’s aggressive approach to infrastructure and cloud computing.

Tucci said the Oracle audience was fortunate to be at the nexus of opportunities presented by cloud computing, which he called a huge focus for both Oracle and EMC. He traced the history of mainframe and client-server computing leading to the buildup – and now the build out - of computing architecture based on growing stores of data and commodity computing resources. He said relational database models will continue to thrive and that they are now augmented by developments such as NoSQL and Hadoop along with new programming languages.

The sum of this is that new opportunities will arise for companies with the strategy and skill sets to leverage all kinds of structured and unstructured data into better decisions. “Real time predictive analytics will be the killer app for this cloud era,” Tucci said.

To win in the cloud, the CEO said, businesses need to embrace three strategies. First, they need to standardize infrastructure, a fait accompli thanks to the widespread embrace of x86 architectures and commodity hardware already in place at Amazon Web Services, Google, Twitter and Facebook. “They are standardizing on x86 scale out architectures,” said Tucci. “The industry and the world have voted,” he said, on UNIX shipments that are dwarfing all other architectures.

The second strategy is to adopt the benefits of virtualization, “so that basically you can make 1000 servers look like 10,000 servers or 20,000 servers or 100,000 servers and start thinking in terms of cores,” the CEO said.  The power of virtualization is to assign jobs to make optimum use of resources and thus meet service level agreements. He showed a chart demonstrating that virtual computing environments now dwarf physical environments, a trend Tucci says will continue. (EMC owns virtualization software provider VMWare.)

The third step is to substitute true automation for the labor-heavy burden of hundreds of bolt on management applications in a similar virtual sense. 

Tucci said EMC believes the next big step in infrastructure and cloud computing is the “software defined data center,” which will bring what virtualization did for the server to the realms of storage and networking.

There will still be “tremendous value” in the hardware layer, Tucci says, but it will be the orchestration of three infrastructure topologies – hardware, storage and networking – that will become the software defined data center and will include built-in security, management and an automation layer.

“Today, most data centers are in silos [where] the application owns the physical infrastructure. You have to build that physical infrastructure for the peak of the day and year even though it’s rarely used at those peak levels. That adds cost and complexity. The software defined data center will have pools of storage, compute, network [on demand].”

In his keynote, Tucci also thanked CEO Larry Ellison for Oracle’s “welcome” to the event after Ellison took a few shots at partners and competitors EMC, IBM and SAP on Sunday. “I want to do a special thanks to Larry, he went way out of his way to make us feel welcome in his keynote.” Ellison had bragged about the superior performance of Oracle’s E3 Exadata compared to competing database and storage products in the conference-opening keynote. Tucci said EMC and Oracle will continue to work closely together.