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EMC World 2016 roundup: Three key takeaways

EMC World 2016 - EMC's annual partner and customer conference - has come to a close in Las Vegas after three days of discussion centred around the topic of data centre modernisation.

As well as plenty of news announcements to keep the 300+ journalists and analysts occupied, there were also some special guest appearances in the keynote sessions to entertain the 10,000 strong crowd. Here are three key takeaways from the event.

New company, new name

Probably the biggest news of the event in relation to the industry as a whole was the guest appearance of Michael Dell during the Monday keynote, where he revealed the new name of the future Dell-EMC powerhouse.

The merger is still being finalised but, once complete, the new conglomerate - consisting of Dell, EMC, VMWare, Pivotal, SecureWorks, RSA and Virtustream - will officially be known as Dell Technologies. As you would expect, Michael was extremely positive about the merger, talking about bringing together leading technologies, fueling innovation and taking aim at HP for "shrinking their way to success."

He spoke about "creating the next great technology company" and "combining Dell with EMC to create your one best, most trusted, most innovative partner." So, very rousing stuff from Michael Dell and more news is sure to follow in this area as the merger approaches completion.

Digital transformation tops the bill

With the event being called 'modernise,' the theme of digital transformation was always going to feature heavily. And in this area EMC didn't disappoint, with the mantra of modernisation and transformation taking centre stage throughout the three days.

Jeremy Burton, president of products and marketing at EMC, spoke about the beginning of a new investment cycle where spending in traditonal infrastructure will start to decline in place of modern applications that will be be "built and architected very differently." This was backed up by David Goulden - CEO of EMC Information and Infrastrucure - talking about the changing requirements of modern businesses, the need for agility, efficiency and speed and how "this modernisation opportunity is huge."

According to EMC, the modern data centre will have four key elements: All flash, cloud enabled, ability to scale out and software defined. This is very much the outline that the company will be focusing on moving forward, as it looks to "inject new DNA" into customers to modernise their IT infrastructures.

Extending into the SMB market

Despite being traditionally known as a provider for enterprise customers, EMC was keen to point out during EMC World that it will be putting more of an emphasis on expansion into the mid market. "We want it all," said Jeremy Burton, captioning the company's desire to dominate all areas of the market.

This, again, was a message frequently repeated throughout the conference by the likes of David Goulden - describing the EMC's now "broad portfolio” - and Michael Dell: "Our intent is to cover all customers" and Dell Technologies will look to cover that market "across the world"

The product announcements reflected this message. The new 'Unity all-flash storage' offering was described as EMC's "best product ever" in the mid-market and 'Leap' - a platform for next-gen digital content apps in the Enterprise Content Management environment - will also expand EMC's portfolio for SMBs.

Anything else?

There were a couple of other notable parts of EMC World that I think deserve a mention. The James Bond-themed keynote session on the final day was actually quite entertaining, broken up with some sketches that - although extremely cheesy - will surely put Jeremy Burton (EMC's president of products and marketing) in the frame for a Hollywood role sometime soon.

There was also an interesting chat with Jon Landau from Lightstorm Entertainment (the company behind Avatar) about how it shot the movie and the palpable excitement surrounding the event - both from EMC staff and customers - certainly suggested that the best could still be yet to come.