EMC's Cloud Offering Taking Shape

Storage giant EMC has emerged as a wildcard is pulling together the pieces for an intriguing cloud computing offering.

As the Internet fills with computing clouds, which will be the largest? Much of the speculation has focused on the usual suspects - Google, Microsoft, Amazon - along with newer contenders like Facebook and Salesforce.com. With online storage likely to account for a significant chunk of the cloud, storage giant EMC has emerged as a wildcard. It's been clear for months that EMC is assembling a cloud offering, with its acquisition of Mozy representing an initial beachhead.

Yesterday's acquisition of a small startup called Pi has raised the visibility of EMC's infrastructure ambitions. Pi is short for "personal information," and is developing an online service to "enable individuals to control how they find, access, share and protect their increasing volumes of digital information." Pi founder and CEO Paul Maritz, a Microsoft veteran, will become President and GM of EMC's new Cloud Infrastructure and Services Division.

Chuck Hollis, Vice President of Technology Alliances at EMC, said that although EMC has bought many companies, the Pi deal "isn't your everyday acquisition."

"I've been dropping hints like crazy that something was up in this space, but I guess now it's pretty obvious