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ExaGrid, Dell, EqualLogic partner on dedupe

Dell’s been so acquisitive in storage lately that every new announcement from them, especially about partnerships, has me paying attention. I don’t believe that their buying spree is necessarily over.

This week, Dell certified ExaGrid’s diskless iSCSI deduplication gateway with EqualLogic’s iSCSI SAN for secondary dedupe storage. ExaGrid claims this is the first iSCSI-based deduplication gateway. Data Domain also sells a gateway, but it’s for FC. NetApp’s deduplication works on its V-series gateways, but isn’t separable from the OnTap OS.

Still, given the concern about performance for even FC-based dedupe systems, I wonder what the appeal is of an iSCSI dedupe system based on a gateway. It seems Dell is still sussing this out, too. Senior manager for Dell/EqualLogic product marketing Kevin Wittmer said Dell will not resell or support the combined product. It instead will be sold entirely through ExaGrid channels (the two have mutual channel partners).

Wittmer said this was a project begun on the ExaGrid side before Dell acquired EqualLogic, and added “you’re going to see Dell paying attention to this market space.”

Does that mean Dell will try to make its own foray into deduplication? In other words, is this ExaGrid partnership a test to see if the technology is worth acquiring?

“We will continue to look at the market space,” Wittmer responded. “I don’t want to go into detail right now on Dell’s product strategy.”

Then Wittmer said another thing that you could take one of several ways – “… it has much bigger implications that could impact all of Dell.”

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