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EMC, Microsoft relationship could be harbinger of things to come

By Alan Earls

Recently, storage giant EMC and operating system behemoth Microsoft announced a joint relationship. One of the analysts at the Enterprise Storage Group, Milford, Mass., characterizes the deal as "a key element in Microsoft moving up to larger scale systems," and "brilliant" on the part of EMC.

The arrangement furthers the strategic role of EMC products in the success of the Microsoft Windows 2000 operating system for the enterprise. EMC joined with the software leader to unveil Microsoft's new .NET enterprise servers that, combined with EMC storage solutions, are being positioned to efficiently Web-enable businesses. EMC is also the first member of Microsoft's new Datacenter Infrastructure Vendor program, designed to provide customers with assurances of joint support and compatibility.

In a statement, Jim Ewel, Vice President, Windows .NET Server Marketing at Microsoft Corp., said, "The Datacenter Infrastructure Vendor Program enables choice while preserving single source support for our mutual enterprise customers demanding the highest levels of scalability and reliability. We are pleased that EMC, a recognized leader in enterprise class storage solutions, is the first to announce their commitment to work with Microsoft and our Datacenter OEMs to enable this program." Microsoft's .NET enterprise servers include the Windows 2000 Datacenter Server, SQL Server 2000 and Exchange Server 2000 platforms.

The Enterprise Storage Group predicts that this will be a successful move for Microsoft. According to one of the group's analysts, "Microsoft is going to win big -- it looks like a partnership that has real value." The analyst also noted that the Redmond giant, with its roots in PCs, has lacked expertise in larger storage issues, up until now. EMC, for its part, gains a market for its range of enterprise storage products and "gets to spawn its TimeFinder mirroring technology across the NT customer base," the analyst said.

Now, with Microsoft paying more attention to storage, who knows what might come next?

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About the author: Alan Earls is a freelance writer in Franklin, Mass.

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