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EMC extends Dell storage partnership by two years

Dell and EMC decided to keep a good thing going by extending their five-year, multibillion dollar storage alliance.

Dell Computer Corp., Round Rock, Texas, and EMC Corp., Hopkinton, Mass., decided to keep a good thing going by extending their five-year, multibillion dollar storage alliance by two years.

Dell said Tuesday that, since forming the alliance, more than 4,100 customers worldwide have purchased Dell/EMC co-branded storage systems. The original agreement was signed in October 2001 and will now extend through December 2008.

The storage giant is committed to its relationship with Dell, though EMC is treading lightly after its resellers complained they were losing contracts to the EMC and Dell direct sales force teams.

Tony Prigmore, a senior analyst at Enterprise Storage Group Inc., in Milford, Mass., said Dell and EMC are both getting what they want out of their relationship and that the extension really speaks to the economics of the situation.

"EMC could never cost-effectively market directly to the segments that Dell addresses, and Dell would have a hard time developing their own technology with all the software and support that EMC brings to the table," Prigmore said.

Under the deal, Dell manufactures co-branded Clariion CX200 storage systems worldwide. The companies are also tinkering with a new series of networked storage systems, which span customer needs from entry-level to enterprise-class, as well as a storage area network (SAN) system that integrates low-cost ATA and high-performance Fibre Channel technologies.

The x-factor in the Dell-EMC marriage could be a little software company up in Redmond, Wash., called Microsoft. Last April the company agreed to share storage application programming interfaces for Windows Server 2003 and to develop a new family of Windows-based EMC network-attached storage (NAS) products.

EMC said it would license Microsoft's Windows Powered NAS (formerly known as the Windows Server Appliance Kit, or SAK) software and use it as the basis for a new family of EMC NAS products. The companies said they will collaborate to make Windows-based products compatible with EMC's Celerra NAS family.

But how would that impact Dell, which holds a big share of the Windows Powered NAS market already?

Tony Prigmore said EMC's recent announcements with Microsoft have no negative impact on Dell. "Dell has been a Windows-powered NAS partner for a long time and, if anything, potentially stands to sell some incremental NAS servers as a result of EMC's partnership with Microsoft."

Terry Klein, vice president of Dell's advanced systems group, said EMC's expanded relationship is a positive development for the Dell-EMC partnership. "The expansion of the EMC and Microsoft relationship supports Dell's strategy to simplify and standardize networked storage for customers across all industries," he said. "Dell began working with Microsoft three years ago to develop a standards-based NAS product that addressed specific customer requirements. In the future, you can expect to see our companies working together to leverage our mutual strengths for both NAS and SAN."

According to Randy Kerns, a senior analyst with Evaluator Group Inc., based in Greenwood Village, Colo., the Microsoft-EMC partnership is good publicity for both companies.

"Microsoft gets more visibility of its NAS software, and EMC gets the association with Microsoft for a very large small-to-medium-sized business market space," he said.

Kerns said EMC will use the solution as an offering to its resellers. While EMC's partner, Dell, already has a Microsoft SAK solution, using its servers and combined with storage, Kerns believes the new NAS solution is an "affirmation" of how successful the Windows-powered solutions have been during the past year.


Let us know what you think about the story. E-mailKevin Komiega, News Writer

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