EMC, IBM Extend Their Uneasy Storage Arrangement

By Chris Preimesberger  |  Posted 2010-04-26 Print this article Print

EMC announces the extension and expansion of a licensing agreement with IBM, first signed in 2006, which will continue to enable data center customers to deploy EMC storage arrays alongside IBM Power Systems servers.

A couple of IT giants have decided to maintain their like-dislike relationship, at least for another five years.

EMC on April 26 revealed the extension and expansion of a licensing agreement with IBM, first signed in 2006, which will continue to enable data center customers who have production elements from both companies to deploy EMC storage arrays alongside IBM Power Systems servers.

The agreement will involve most of EMC's high-end Symmetrix and Clariion storage hardware and how it dovetails with IBM's servers. The new multicore processors from Intel and Advanced Micro Devices factor heavily into this, due to new horizons of power and efficiency they bring to the data center.

To say there is an uneasy truce of sorts between EMC and IBM, in their storage "coopetition," is an understatement.

EMC is the world's largest independent storage hardware and software manufacturer and has been for the last decade. Its financial results have been exemplary.

IBM, which has gained some storage market share with its System Storage product line in recent months, actually invented the spinning disk hard drive and has been supplying great amounts of storage capacity for generations, often to the same customers as EMC.

With most data centers containing multiple brands of servers, networking switches, storage arrays and management software, the reality is that the major vendors in this business have long realized that despite having to sell directly against themselves, their equipment needs to work together as seamlessly as possible for the customer's sake.

IBM's latest System Storage news came the week of April 19 when it unveiled a new tiered system that brings it to parity with some of the systems already being marketed by smaller companies, such as NetApp, 3PAR, Compellent and Xiotech.

Financial terms of the new agreement were not disclosed.

Five-year history of agreements

This is the latest in a series of agreements between EMC and IBM. In June 2007, the companies extended their licensing agreement for the zSeries attachment architecture, which enables the EMC Symmetrix family of storage systems to interoperate with IBM System z mainframes.

In addition to the initial IBM licensing agreement signed in March 2006, EMC and IBM announced a licensing pact in October 2003 that provided EMC with access to a range of storage interfaces and functionality for other IBM Systems lines. The companies also agreed to an exchange of open standards-based interfaces for improved manageability and interoperability.

In June 2005, the companies extended their cooperative support agreement, which facilitates mutual response to joint customer issues regarding the IBM Power System and all other IBM Systems lines.

Chris Preimesberger Chris Preimesberger was named Editor-in-Chief of Features & Analysis at eWEEK in November 2011. Previously he served eWEEK as Senior Writer, covering a range of IT sectors that include data center systems, cloud computing, storage, virtualization, green IT, e-discovery and IT governance. His blog, Storage Station, is considered a go-to information source. Chris won a national Folio Award for magazine writing in November 2011 for a cover story on Salesforce.com and CEO-founder Marc Benioff, and he has served as a judge for the SIIA Codie Awards since 2005. In previous IT journalism, Chris was a founding editor of both IT Manager's Journal and DevX.com and was managing editor of Software Development magazine. His diverse resume also includes: sportswriter for the Los Angeles Daily News, covering NCAA and NBA basketball, television critic for the Palo Alto Times Tribune, and Sports Information Director at Stanford University. He has served as a correspondent for The Associated Press, covering Stanford and NCAA tournament basketball, since 1983. He has covered a number of major events, including the 1984 Democratic National Convention, a Presidential press conference at the White House in 1993, the Emmy Awards (three times), two Rose Bowls, the Fiesta Bowl, several NCAA men's and women's basketball tournaments, a Formula One Grand Prix auto race, a heavyweight boxing championship bout (Ali vs. Spinks, 1978), and the 1985 Super Bowl. A 1975 graduate of Pepperdine University in Malibu, Calif., Chris has won more than a dozen regional and national awards for his work. He and his wife, Rebecca, have four children and reside in Redwood City, Calif.Follow on Twitter: editingwhiz

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