EMC, IBM Extend Their Uneasy Storage Arrangement

 
 
By Chris Preimesberger  |  Posted 2010-04-26
 
 
 

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.

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