Dell, EMC Extend Storage Relationship to 2013

By Chris Preimesberger  |  Posted 2008-12-10 Print this article Print

In the successful eight-year partnership between Dell and EMC, EMC provides the hardware and software to its sales partner, Dell, which rebrands the package under its more well-known name and modifies some of the add-on features and support offerings. Now the deal has been extended through 2013.

Dell and EMC, IT systems goliaths that have an intricate storage array marketing relationship, Dec. 9 announced the extension of their global alliance through 2013. Under the previous contract, which centered on EMC's Clariion product line, the relationship would have ended in 2011.

The two companies said they will add the EMC Celerra NX4 storage system, launched in August 2008, to the Dell/EMC network lineup by early 2009. The Celerra NX4, aimed at midmarket enterprises, gives the user a choice of NAS (network-attached storage), iSCSI and Fibre Channel connectivity.

Basically, the eight-year partnership has been successful because EMC provides the hardware and software to its sales partner, Dell, which then rebrands the package under its more well-known name and modifies some of the add-on features and support offerings.

But it can be confusing to the potential buyer, because Dell and EMC sometimes market the same product under both brand names, offering slightly different feature sets, support packages and price ranges.

This has caused a bit of friction on the sales side of both companies, to say the least. There have been times when salespeople from Dell and EMC have competed for the same customer, selling basically the same arrays.

EqualLogic enters the picture

A new wrinkle was added to the mix when Dell acquired EqualLogic and its second-generation iSCSI storage system technology for $1.4 billion Nov. 5, 2007. At the time, Michael Dell said, "We now have the rocket fuel to put us in front" in the increasingly competitive data storage business.

No question that some people at EMC were irked at the time. The EqualLogic offerings were going to supercede some of EMC's-particularly in the midmarket, where the most sales potential reside.

Only three months later, and five days after closing the deal, Dell launched its first EqualLogic-designed product and began worldwide delivery of the smaller company's SAN (storage area network) arrays in the form of the Dell EqualLogic PS5000 series.

These arrays use EqualLogic's top-of-the-line iSCSI architecture, which Dell said is twice as fast as "conventional" storage arrays and easier to install and maintain, thanks to a simpler-to-use management GUI and a new tool kit.

Some industry observers interpreted Dell's choice of the term conventional to include products from EMC, one of the oldest, most established data storage companies and currently the external disk world market leader.

Rough edges smoothed out

Over a year later, however, Dell and EMC say they have worked out the rough edges of the product overlap and sales issues. Dell is able to offer customers many more options now with both product lines to draw from.

The partnership began in 2001; about 60,000 deployments of Dell/EMC storage arrays are now in operation.

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 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 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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