EMC locates global R&D operation in Cork

4 Apr 2011

Data storage giant EMC, which employs more than 1,900 people in Cork, is to locate a global R&D operation in Cork to deal with the complexities facing a world of big data and mass consumerisation of IT in the enterprise world.

EMC said this morning it is to expand its cloud computing, big data and data centre research programmes with the establishment of EMC Research Europe. A major part of the project involves a strategic link with UCC and other universities across Europe.

EMC Research Europe will further advance the EMC Innovation Network, a worldwide collaboration of advanced technology researchers across EMC and its university research partners, and strengthen EMC’s long-standing commitment to technology innovation and university research and collaboration across the region.

It will be led by Donagh Buckley, the newly-appointed chief science officer and director of EMC Research Europe, and will initially be staffed by a cross-functional “virtual research team” of EMC technology and business leaders from Ireland and other EMC offices in Europe.

EMC Research Europe will focus on accelerating emerging technology innovation and solution development, and further advancing EMC’s relationships with university research communities and industry partners in Ireland and Europe.

EMC has joined with University College Cork (UCC) in Ireland as the anchor university research partner for EMC Research Europe.

Buckley told Siliconrepublic.com that the research will be all encompassing when it comes to EMC’s broad product portfolio. “Much of it will be very much around cloud and the big data movement and the opportunities this provides down the road.

“We are very interested in the complexity that comes with managing massive amounts of data and the challenges that this presents for infrastructure. We are very much interested in applying analytics to that data and helping to manage the complexities of this data for the world.

“The key battle will be to manage the scale of the data, not just about the consumerisation of data but from the perspective of enterprises’ capacity, business continuity and resilience. Therein lies the difficulty in developing the technology going forward.

“The fact that we have such a close relationship with VMware in terms of marketshare that will be a huge asset to us, as well, in terms of overall virtualisation trends and the virtualisation of storage in particular,” Buckley told Siliconrepublic.com.

The role of EMC’s global R&D centres

“EMC’s global R&D centres play a vital role in helping the company explore the impact of new technologies. We’re looking forward to the insights our researchers at the Cork centre and other offices in the region will bring the company in collaboration with university partners in Europe,” said Jeff Nick, EMC senior vice-president and chief technology officer.

The location of EMC Research Europe in the company’s Ireland COE is a natural progression, following EMC’s establishment of a Research & Development Centre in Cork in 2008, and the strong links subsequently developed by the R&D team with many local and European universities and industry players.

Adrian McDonald, senior vice-president and general manager for UK and Ireland at EMC, added, “EMC is committed to bringing together some of Europe’s leading research minds and innovators and collaborating with them in essential information technologies. This new European research initiative is a key step in the further development of Ireland’s support role for EMC at a European and global level.”

The research collaborations of EMC Research Europe will initially be centralised in Ireland, with the longer-term objective of strengthening relationships throughout Europe and developing ties with other research initiatives in the global EMC Innovation Network – including those under way at the other EMC COEs. For example, EMC’s Research & Development Centre has been working closely with the University of Limerick over the past two years as part of the 2008 R&D investment; in addition to this, new collaborations are already under way at two other university research centres in Europe – the Hasso-Plattner Institut (HPI) in Germany and the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) in Switzerland.

An example of the global reach of this initiative is the hosting of an academic workshop on data centre management and cloud computing, co-led by Donagh Buckley and Dr Burt Kaliski, director of the EMC Innovation Network, with Prof Barry O’Sullivan, chair of Constraint Programming, School of Computer Science, and director (incoming), Cork Constraint Computation Centre (4C), at UCC at the AAAI Conference in San Francisco in August 2011.

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years