EMC continues acquisition spree

By Ann Silverthorn

Last month, EMC continued to push beyond its storage-centric roots with two acquisitions: managed IT services provider Internosis, and information and grid technology from Acxiom.

The acquisitions are a continuation of EMC’s strategy to move beyond hardware infrastructure into the management of information from its creation to its disposal.

Internosis has been renamed EMC Microsoft Practice, a part of the EMC Technology Solutions Group. EMC Microsoft Practice provides IT professional services, which integrate Microsoft and related technologies for commercial companies and the US government. The new EMC Microsoft Practice will leverage the benefit of EMC’s global footprint and existing infrastructure.

The Internosis purchase is just the latest step in EMC’s push toward professional services. “Six or seven years ago, our professional services organization was focused on implementing EMC products. During this evolution we’ve expanded into a more traditional services business,” says Todd Pavone, EMC’s vice president of global solutions.

“Back then, infrastructure wasn’t as relevant to application areas as it is today, but it’s very relevant now and critical when you’re doing upgrades, migrations, or implementations of Microsoft applications,” continues Pavone.

“Customers traditionally work separately with their Microsoft partners and infrastructure partners. We believe by combining these skill sets into one, there’s more of a one-stop-shop approach. Customers can work with us and get both application skill sets in Microsoft and infrastructure from EMC.”

The Internosis portfolio cuts across four areas: applications strategy, application development, infrastructure services, and desktop managed services. “EMC had a small subset of that, but we didn’t have a robust portfolio across the whole lifecycle of applications,” says Pavone.

Focusing on ILM

The deal fits well with a number of EMC’s information management solutions, which range from specific document management applications to wider-ranging compliance and information lifecycle management (ILM) offerings, according to Charles King, senior analyst, application infrastructure, at the PUND-IT consulting firm. “Internosis’ popularity among government clients [about half of the company’s customers are federal agencies] bodes well for EMC’s burgeoning public sector solutions.”

King also notes that as the market leader in Windows-based virtualization, “EMC is in a position to expand its influence well beyond enterprise storage. …EMC’s acquisition of grid-specialist Acxiom further expanded the company’s systems-management offerings and should also allow EMC to deliver bundled grid solutions with Microsoft-focused partners.”

EMC purchased Acxiom’s software for $30 million. Acxiom developed the software for its own business operations-hosted hygiene, cleansing, and manipulation services for major companies that want to mine and analyze their own customer databases. As part of the agreement, EMC will lease the software back to Acxiom as the latter continues to offer its hosted services.

Over the next two years, EMC will combine Acxiom’s intellectual property with its own systems and software to build a customer-site-located solution instead of a hosted model. EMC and Acxiom will jointly market the hosted Acxiom solution until the customer-site-located solution is available.

When fully developed, the new platform will be jointly marketed and sold by the two companies.

Using grid technology, Acxiom could improve utilization of resources, information access, and workflow, and optimize distributed information access. Acxiom will continue to have access to the grid technology it developed-plus the improvements that EMC makes to it.

According to Ian Baird, chief technology officer of grid and utility computing for EMC, the acquisition of Acxiom’s grid software affords EMC a stronger position against vendors such as IBM and Sun that have already made moves into grid computing.

This article was originally published on February 01, 2006