EMC president and chief executive officer Joe Tucci predicts that the storage market will undergo significant changes in 2006 due to the prevalence of emerging technologies and growth potential in new customer segments.

Speaking at the 2006 Goldman Sachs Technology Investment Symposium in New York, Tucci predicted that “2006 will be a tremendous year for consolidation” among vendors in the storage market, a trend that will change the market landscape considerably.

He also said that the way datacentre and infrastructure is managed over the next few years will also undergo some changes as companies continue to adopt web services technology, which will increasingly unify applications that were once in separate silos. This will change the way those applications and their data will be stored, Tucci says.

To roll with these changes, EMC will continue to move from a solely storage-centric vision toward a more holistic approach of managing, accessing and securing information, or what it calls its information life-cycle management (ILM) strategy, he says.

“We are looking to fill out our portfolio with technologies that help you do other things with information, such as protect, secure, move and archive it, and to create policies and metadata so you can take these actions and automate them, and that you have the ability to centrally manage it,” Tucci says.

EMC will focus on three key areas in particular — security, model-based resource management and virtualisation, he says. Virtualisation in particular will be one of the key “game-changing technologies” for the datacentre of the future, he predicts.

Tucci also says that software will comprise a “bigger and bigger percentage of the mix” at EMC in the future. EMC will expand its services business as well, but through partnerships as opposed to large acquisitions.

EMC also plans to expand further in the small-to-medium-sized (SMB) business segment, Tucci says. It’s an area EMC “can’t afford to ignore”.

EMC has already begun to push into the SMB space. Earlier this month the company launched a new line of hardware and software products geared for SMBs, which incorporates technology EMC gained through its acquisition of Dantz Development.

Tucci also dismissed analyst speculation that EMC would spin off its subsidiary VMWare, a server virtualisation vendor EMC acquired in 2004.

“I believe VMWare is a tremendous asset, and that separating it would be huge mistake,” he says.