"Glory days
Well, they'll pass you by
Glory days
In the wink of a young girl's eye
Glory days, glory days"
-- From "Glory Days," by Bruce Springsteen, 1984

When Comcast talks about a "triple play" strategy, the cable giant is selling voice, data, and television subscriptions. When EMC (NYSE: EMC) says the same thing, the storage giant takes a decidedly different view of the baseball metaphor: It's about gaining market share, investing for the future, and improving profitability.

In discussing EMC's first-quarter results, CFO David Goulden said that his company delivered on all three of those ambitions -- but that the glory days won't last.

After reporting 23% year-over-year sales growth and 63% higher non-GAAP earnings per share -- $3.9 billion and $0.26, respectively -- EMC guided to 18% sales growth in the next quarter. Goulden claimed that this is well above the growth rate of the data storage industry, which would imply market share gains. Research and development expenses increased by 13% and the company intends to accelerate that pace throughout the year, so there's the "invest for the future" component. And you really can't argue with the profit increases.

But some of it was driven by "pent-up demand" as the corporate customers that are EMC's bread and butter return to IT investments after a few lean years. But that trend is short-lived: "We're expecting to move to a more seasonal pattern after Q1," Goulden said, meaning business as usual with higher sales approaching the fourth quarters of the fiscal year, but flatter sales in the second and third quarters.

Investing in research is the easy part. To keep the triple play in play, if you pardon the expression, EMC will need to either cut costs elsewhere or raise prices. At the same time, the company wants to beat storage vendors like IBM (NYSE: IBM), Hewlett-Packard (NYSE: HPQ), Hitachi (NYSE: HIT), and newcomer Oracle's (Nasdaq: ORCL) Sun division at their own games. That's not easy to do without discount programs or more marketing -- either of which would work against the profitability goal.

If EMC can pull off this triple play strategy throughout the year, you can color me impressed. But until I see proof that this quarter's triple play compliance wasn't just a freak occurrence, I believe that the company is biting off more tobacco than it can chew.

What can EMC do to keep the triple play rolling? Please discuss in the comments below, because I don't quite see it myself.

Fool contributor Anders Bylund he holds no position in any of the companies discussed here. National Poetry Month wouldn't be half the fun without rock poets like Springsteen. The Fool owns shares of and has written puts on Oracle. Try any of our Foolish newsletters today, free for 30 days. You can check out Anders' holdings and a concise bio if you like, and The Motley Fool is investors writing for investors.