EMC purchase points to a battle in the clouds
By Ian GRAYSON
Storage giant EMC made an interesting move last week when it stumped up an undisclosed amount of money (presumably millions) for a company that’s yet to launch anything.
The maker of enterprise storage equipment snapped up a small Seattle-based firm called Pi Corporation and plans to meld it into its so-called cloud computing operations.
Pi’s 100 engineers have been beavering away on software that promises to change the way people store, access and use information. EMC obviously believes that whatever the clever boffins at Pi have devised is something that should be taken very seriously.
Now, all this sounds a lot like the hype that blossomed during the heady days of the dot-com boom. Then, almost any company with a cool name and the promise of some paradigm-shifting product could expect bucket loads of cash to be thrown in its direction.
But in these cooler, more considered times, you actually need to have something that’s likely to work. For Pi, that appears to be some very clever web-based applications that will change the way you work with data. While details are very sketchy, it appears to be about unhooking that data both from physical devices and existing software applications and letting it lose in the internet cloud.
According to the company’s website, “Pi's mission is to deliver products that will allow users to create, repurpose, store, share and access personal information in novel ways, taking advantage of the ubiquity of computing power and a new interconnected world.”
Now that doesn’t give a whole lot away but it does sound kind of exciting. To my thinking, cloud-based computing makes complete sense and will be the way most information is stored and accessed in the not-too-distant future. Google is leading the rush, closely followed by Microsoft. And with this purchase EMC has clearly indicated it doesn’t intend to miss out on all the fun.
Making the purchase even more noteworthy is the fact that Pi Corporation was founded by a former Microsoft employee, Paul Maritz. Maritz left Microsoft in 2000 with a swag of money and has been involved in various philanthropic activities since.
Now he’s joining EMC to guide the company’s cloud strategy which points to some very interesting times ahead.
In five year’s time, the purchase may well be seen as a significant step in the evolution of personal computing.
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