EMC Networking Strategy Includes Cisco, Brocade Partnerships

EMC officials say that a converged networking infrastructure will be key in helping businesses migrate to a private cloud computing environment. EMC's new networking strategy includes new services and tools, as well as expanded partnerships with networking vendors Cisco and Brocade.

BOSTON-EMC is planning to roll out a host of storage networking products and services later this year as part of its initiative in enabling the evolution of private clouds.

At the EMC World 2010 show here May 10, EMC officials announced a converged networking strategy aimed at data centers. The strategy includes expanded networking services, analysis tools for assessing converged networking efforts, and extended reseller agreements with Brocade and Cisco Systems.

In a question-and-answer session with reporters and analysts after his keynote address at the show, EMC CEO Joe Tucci said that as enterprises grow the use of data center virtualization technologies and start their migration to private cloud computing environments, demand for converged networks will increase.

In a federated environment, Tucci said, multiple data centers will be viewed as a single pool of resources, and IT administrators will be looking to move workloads and stored data around that pool.

"When you do that, there's an element of movement ... so all that data has to move over a network," he said. "I think the whole [networking infrastructure] is converging in the cloud, because what you want to do is look at pools of storage and convergence."

Converged networks also mean less cost, greater efficiency and more control for data center administrators.

EMC officials said that over the next few months, they will grow their converged networking services for Ethernet environments. Those services include network assessment, planning and implementation, with support for a number of protocols, from FCoE (Fibre Channel over Ethernet), CEE (Converged Enhanced Ethernet), iSCSI and NAS (network-attached storage).

New tools will help IT administrators design, implement and migrate to converged networks, EMC officials said.

"The advent of converged networks will simplify network challenges and create the data center infrastructure required to realize the full potential of private clouds," Howard Elias, president and chief operating officer of EMC's Information Infrastructure and Cloud Services business, said in a statement. "EMC's leadership in virtual storage products, security and management solutions for virtualized environments combined with the upcoming portfolio of Ethernet solutions will enable EMC and our channel partners to give customers the needed ingredients to take their virtual data centers to the next level."

In the third quarter, EMC also will start selling 10 Gigabit Ethernet switches from Brocade and Cisco, among other networking vendors. EMC will roll out 10GbE switches from Brocade that support both FCoE and CEE.

The company also will start selling a system that will include EMC storage technology and Cisco's Nexus line of 10GbE switches that also support FCoE and CEE.

In a report issued May 10, Charles King, an analyst with Pund-IT Research, said EMC's SAN (storage-area network) experience and its partnerships with the likes of Cisco and Brocade puts it in a good position to help enterprises in their push for more converged networking environments.

"The broad effort behind EMC's converged network strategy proves it is far more than an amorphous marketing campaign," King wrote. "Instead, the company understands that the combination of powerful 10GbE technologies, its own deep storage networking expertise and services, and key partners' innovative solutions should help provide EMC customers a clear, secure path to sustainable private cloud computing."

In talking with reporters, Tucci said partnerships-such as those with Cisco and Brocade-will be key for EMC as it broadens its private cloud strategy. EMC can't make all the technologies needed for such a migration, so partnering with a wide range of other vendors will be important, he said.