EMC, Microsoft Renew Data Storage Development Alliance

Microsoft and data storage giant EMC are renewing their product partnership. Fundamentally, EMC provides the storage and data protection elements of the joint products, while Microsoft supplies the virtualization and data management software. Although EMC and Microsoft have been partners in producing individual products since the late 1990s, the companies' previous three-year development, sales and marketing agreement expired Dec. 31, 2008.

Two of the biggest names in IT, storage infrastructure giant EMC and software giant Microsoft, renewed their profitable partnership Feb. 3, announcing an extension of their alliance through 2011.

Although the two companies have been partners in producing individual products since the late 1990s, the previous three-year corporate development, sales and marketing agreement between the two companies expired Dec. 31, 2008. There was never an issue about the two coming back to the table for a second partnership contract.

EMC President, CEO and Chairman Joe Tucci and Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer made the announcement at an invitation-only event for CIOs and other IT executives at the Plaza Hotel in New York.

Fundamentally, EMC provides the storage and data protection elements of the joint products, while Microsoft supplies the virtualization and data management software.

EMC's VMware division, the world market leader in virtualization software for the enterprise, is not involved in the agreement, because Microsoft-with its Hyper-V hypervisor-is its biggest competitor.

Click here to read about EMC's surprising fourth-quarter revenue results.

Nonetheless, the extended agreement, while doing an end run around VMware, will entail an increase in product codevelopment involving virtualization, EMC Vice President of Strategic Alliances Mike O'Neill told eWEEK.

"Most recently we announced plans involving integration of data-loss protection capabilities into Microsoft applications," O'Neill said. "The first example, in [the fourth quarter], was a rollout of our most recent DLP offering on top of Microsoft rights-management services.

"So that's the first focus: a security-integrated offering. We're also doing some work in network services management, using a similar approach. We both saw that the opportunity to produce a jointly crafted offering for the market would be beneficial."

For the network services management project, EMC will be using resources from its Smarts division to work with Microsoft's network resources division, specifically for the System Center Operations Manager product.

A previous codevelopment project resulted in linking EMC's Documentum content management platform with Microsoft's SharePoint Server, Outlook and SQL Server to improve efficiency, EMC said in a statement.

Future joint projects will involve EMC's storage (Symmetrix, Clariion arrays), data protection (RSA-branded security) and management of information product lines with virtualized Microsoft stacks that use Windows Server 2008, Hyper-V, System Center and jointly supported mission-critical workload software such as Exchange, SQL Server and SharePoint Server.

Chris Preimesberger

Chris Preimesberger

Chris Preimesberger is Editor of Features & Analysis at eWEEK, responsible in large part for the publication's coverage areas. In his 12 years and more than 3,900 stories at eWEEK, he has...