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EMC acquires FastScale, deepens connection with VMware

It’s strange to think of a parent company finding new ways to grow closer with a subsidiary — after all, an ownership relationship seems about as deep as it gets.

But for years now, VMware and EMC have walked a tightrope between EMC’s ownership of the server virtualization company and VMware’s cooperation with EMC’s competitors. VMware has been careful not to favor EMC storage integrations, for example, over competitors like NetApp.

However, analysts see that picture beginning to shift after two pieces of news from EMC to kick off VMworld. The first was pre-released last week that EMC is now an official reseller of VMware’s AppSpeed application as part of its Ionix data center management portfolio. That’s a part of a wider emphasis at this year’s show on improving virtualized application performance and reliability using reporting and monitoring tools. Virtualization has clearly moved beyond “why” and “how” into “now what?”

This morning at the show, EMC took a step further into VMware’s world by dislosing its acquisition of FastScale, a privately held Santa Clara, Calif. firm which makes software for application image management (AIM).

Taneja Group senior analyst Jeff Boles said he’s intruiged that EMC — rather than VMware — acquired a company with technology that lets you run more virtual machines on your hardware.

“EMC has kept its distance in some ways from VMWare, but I’m under the impression that tide is changing,” Boles said.

FastScale is not a storage product, but Bob Quillin, senior director of product marketing for EMC’s resource management group, wrote in his Infrastructure 2.0 blog of FastScale’s impact on the storage infrastructure: “FastScale increases the relevance to and alignment with VMware by maximizing the density of VM’s that can be run on an ESX (up to 3X the VMs), decreasing memory and disk usage, and thus enabling the most optimal platform for tier-one application delivery,” Quillin wrote.

Another EMC blogger, Chuck Hollis, put it this way: “From a storage perspective, maybe we ought to call it ‘pre-dupe’ rather than ‘de-dupe’?  Compared against what can be done with ordinary disk-based deduplication, we’re now able to go so much farther in terms of footprint reduction — not only on disk, but in memory where it ‘really’ counts.”

Said Boles, “this is a key space to watch — this kind of optimization can have significant implications for the storage infrastructure.”

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