EMC: Global Replay is the Next 'Killer App'

Executive chairman Mike Ruettgers says e-mail trails and credit card histories are just the start, but in tough times, not all storage companies survive.
Posted November 12, 2002

Michael Singer

SAN FRANCISCO -- With apologies to New Yorker cartoonist Peter Steiner, people can now tell if you are a dog or not on the Internet. And EMC executive chairman Mike Ruettgers says it's the next "killer app."

The Hopkinton, Mass.-based storage supplier is focusing on a new strategy it calls "Global Replay."

"It's a kind of an instant replay that we knew would happen eventually with the increased importance on devices like black boxes in airlines," Ruettgers said to OracleWorld attendees here. "Basically this is the ability to quickly and easily reconstruct in what happened in almost any circumstance."

The idea of recreating what has happened in a network is not new. Many companies offer software that can pinpoint server failures or hacking attempts. But Ruettgers says the idea is now to combine automated networked storage within network attached storage (NAS), storage area networks (SAN), content accessible storage (CAS), and multi-vendor networks into a business intelligence technology to be able to find the information when and where you want it.

In addition to searching e-mail and voicemail for incriminating evidence, investigators have also looked into stock trading history, court transcripts, credit card transactions, tax filings, bank statements, video rental history, hotel bills and video camera footage shot in schools, stores and malls. The information could be accessed in terms of blocks, files or topologies.

As an example, investigators looking at last year's crash of American Airlines Flight 587 from New York to the Dominican Republic, say they found home video posted on the Internet, which helped them to determine that the plane did lose its tail fin and rudder before killing 265 people.

But Ruettgers says other applications could benefit healthcare sector, such as linking clinic, insurers, dental record, physician's record, patient's home file, hospital and pharmacy information to supply a compete real-time digital patient record.

"There is a balance here that needs to be looked at," said Ruettgers. "On one side you want management tools to make sure the information is always available, it is easily moved around when it is needed, accessible to whomever needs it and when they need it and make sure it is protected and secure. On the other end of the spectrum, there are privacy concerns. So it boils down to striking the right balance."

EMC says it has already begun much of its work in this area with the advancement of ECOstructure (EMC/Cisco/Oracle Infrastructure), an alliance that uses the common denominators of content caching, storage area networking (SAN) and network attached storage (NAS). EMC and Oracle have also launched a Joint Service Center (JSC) to help customers diagnose storage and database problems.

The problem, according to Ruettgers is that the pendulum is swinging once again in the storage sector with expected results.

"Every time in the past 15 years that there is a slowdown in technology, storage companies fold," Ruettgers told internetnews.com. "It happened around 1995 when SDK, IBM were sputtering. We're seeing the same thing today. There are many, many companies that are going to fail in this sector. So it is important to make sure that your partnerships are solid."

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