The agreement adds Cisco to StorageTeks growing list of partners, including Brocade Communications Systems Inc. and McData Corp.
Under the terms of the deal, StorageTek of Louisville, Colo., will resell Ciscos MDS 9000 family of multilayer intelligent directors and fabric switches, as well as related SMARTnet services and support.
The move reflects StorageTeks focus on advancing its ILM strategy. By adding Cisco products, which are an important force in the SAN (storage area network) market, Cisco will help StorageTek provide robust SAN consolidation solutions to its customers that reduce the complexities of their SANs and improve total cost of ownership, said Mike Tomky, StorageTeks product marketing manager for ILM-SAN solutions.
The move also helps further StorageTeks ILM vision, which will continue to evolve and incorporate network-hosted applications for virtualization that will reside in hardware from Cisco and StorageTeks other SAN partners, Tomky added.
"The great numbers of applications that fall under the virtualization umbrella are the cornerstone to the ILM vision enabling classification, management and movement of customers data," he said.
While many of these applications run very well in arrays or on appliances, others are better suited and more effective when they reside in the network, he said. Partnering with vendors such as Cisco that have a strong roadmap for network-hosted applications will speed delivery of StorageTeks ILM vision to its customers, he said.
The addition of Cisco to StorageTeks offerings, as well as its inclusion in StorageTeks TekSelect partner program, are long overdue, said Greg Schulz, senior analyst at Evaluator Group of Denver, Colo.
Although StorageTek is focusing on ILM as the impetus for partnering with Cisco, "the reality is that this is something they would have done whether they were doing ILM or not," Schulz said. "Its what their customers want. Customers buying StorageTeks ILM-enabling products for technology are also Cisco customers, so they want to be able to buy Cisco products from StorageTek. In many ways, its interesting that it took them so long."
Although the fit is good and the timing is right, there is a risk that Ciscos channel partners may get edged out of storage networking deals by StorageTek if the deal isnt structured correctly, some surmise.
"Channel conflict is always a challenge. Ive rarely seen a company that was able to completely avoid it," said Mike Karp, senior analyst at Enterprise Management Associates of Boulder, Colo. "But I cant believe that when they crafted a deal like this that either would be foolish enough to walk away from what will be a useful and well-valued revenue stream."