I couldn’t find an iota of bad news in EMC’s Q4 and year-end financial report today, so I turned to the financial analyst community. They couldn’t find anything negative either, although a few of them noted that, going forward, EMC may face more hurdles than it’s used to facing.

While generally praising EMC’s report, Technology Business Research (TBR) analyst Greg Richardson noted that “TBR expects EMC to face headwinds from multiple forces as it attempts to expand in the midmarket. Although the company posted 22% year-to-year growth in mid-tier revenue in 4Q10, we believe EMC will be forced to adjust its services model in order to win in the channel against NetApp, which leaves whitespace for channel partners to utilize their own services when deploying and supporting NetApp products.”

Richardson also noted that “Additionally, EMC will face a hurdle in the form of public cloud adoption. As customers become increasingly more comfortable and trusting of the cloud’s security, TBR expects adoption of public cloud to increase, particularly in the price-sensitive low end of the midmarket.”

And Stifel Nicolaus analyst Aaron Rakers noted that, going forward, EMC could face increasing competition at the high end (Symmetrix) of the market, particularly from Hitachi (Virtual Storage Platform), IBM (refreshed DS8000) and from 3PAR now that HP owns that company.

Other than those potential future challenges, everything’s coming up roses for EMC.

The company set records across the board in Q410 and for the full year. Fourth quarter revenue was $4.9 billion, up 19% over Q409. GAAP net income increased 61% year-over-year to $628.6 million. GAAP diluted earnings per share were up 53%. EMC closed the quarter with $9.5 billion in cash and investments.

For the full year (2010), EMC’s revenue was $17 billion, an increase of 21% over 2009 revenue. GAAP net income increased a whopping 75% to $1.9 billion, and diluted earnings per share were up 66%.

EMC executives expect 2011 revenue to be in the $19.6 billion range.

Diving a little deeper into EMC’s fourth quarter numbers: Symmetrix revenue increased 19% vs. Q4 2009, and revenue from the company’s mid-tier lineup (Clariion, Celerra, Centera, Data Domain, etc.) was up 23%. Revenue from majority-owned VMware was up 38%.

Looking ahead, I’m sure EMC will get a nice boost when the Isilon product line ramps, and I also expect very positive results from the recently introduced VNX/VNXe unified storage product line. And with the large amount of cash on hand, expect EMC to make some more acquisitions this year, most likely in the cloud and virtualization spaces.

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