Q&A: EMC, Data Domain and deduplication

By Kevin Komiega

-- It has been about a month since EMC officially acquired Data Domain for its disk-based data deduplication technologies and EMC is starting to offer some information about the status of the deal and how it will bring Data Domain, its employees and its product set into the fold.

In this interview, InfoStor asked EMC's senior vice president of global marketing and one of the executives spearheading EMC's post-merger efforts, BJ Jenkins, for an update on the status of the Data Domain integration.

InfoStor: Now that the Data Domain deal is done, when does EMC expect to officially announce some sort of product roadmap/integration plan related to the Data Domain portfolio?

Jenkins: Let me first begin by saying how excited we are to have Data Domain as part of EMC. While the transaction is complete, we really only began the integration process a month ago, given we were two companies that couldn't really interact until we had a definitive merger agreement in place. The first milestone we hit right out of the gate was to ensure that our sales teams were working closely together in the field and could offer our customers the best solution for the business challenge. We are in the process of building short-term and long-term product roadmaps to support a fast-growing, $1 billion product division in 2010.  Stay tuned for more announcements related to the new product division near the end of the year. 

InfoStor: EMC had a wealth of data deduplication technologies in its portfolio prior to the acquisition of Data Domain. Is there product overlap? How will EMC rationalize its product set in terms of deduplication?

Jenkins: There is minimal product overlap. The combination of EMC and Data Domain creates the best and broadest portfolio of deduplication products and solutions in the market.  The portfolio is highly complementary offering customer's industry-leading storage system and software based products with the benefits of deduplication.  There are many different customer use cases for deduplication technology, and if there are areas of overlap, EMC and Data Domain's field organization will offer the best solution for the customer based on their requirements.

InfoStor: What of existing partnerships? Specifically, does EMC plan to continue its dedupe relationship with Quantum (and Dell) in light of the Data Domain deal?

Jenkins: EMC and Quantum have a long-standing business relationship and Quantum will continue to be an important business partner for EMC across a number of different areas in our storage business. Dell and EMC have a long-standing strategic alliance and we are always looking for opportunities to leverage our relationship with Dell where it makes good business sense and it will benefit customers. EMC and Data Domain both have strong partner programs, and we will look to strengthen these partners program moving forward.   

InfoStor: Many experts in the industry believe EMC overpaid for Data Domain by as much as 30% in an effort to one-up NetApp. How does EMC respond to those comments?

Jenkins: Next-generation backup solutions represent key-enabling technologies for the build out of virtualized data centers and cloud computing environments. Because of this, we realized we needed to own a key enabling piece – storage system deduplication.  Data Domain is the leader today in deduplication storage systems. EMC Avamar is the leader in deduplication backup software. The combination of Data Domain with EMC's industry-leading Avamar backup products is expected to result in next-generation backup revenues exceeding $1 billion in 2010. EMC's global reach, broad distribution, and desire to commit significant resources to this opportunity, together with Data Domain's experienced management team and world-class sales force, would create a winning combination. This is a winning combination and the market has responded positively to the transaction.

InfoStor: Joe Tucci issued an open letter to the employees of Data Domain during the bidding war with NetApp in which he extolled the benefits of working at EMC and said EMC was prepared to welcome them into the fold. That said, how much of the Data Domain team will EMC retain?

Jenkins: Part of our M&A strategy has been not to break what's been successful in companies we've acquired. A huge part of Data Domain's success lies in the strength of its executive team and all of the Data Domain employees. We've already made it very clear that Frank Slootman will be in charge of a new product division within EMC's storage business focused on the development and delivery of next-generation disk-based backup, recovery and archive solutions. The people, products and technology that came from Data Domain will become the foundation of this division.

Related articles:
NetApp bows out, EMC to acquire Data Domain
Tucci woos Data Domain employees
Is Data Domain a good fit for EMC?
Data Domain debuts new dedupe system

This article was originally published on August 28, 2009