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Dell to flog EMC Celerra NAS

Buddy system to go on five more years

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Dell is going to resell best buddy EMC's Celerra NX4 NAS product, giving suppliers such as NetApp stronger competition. EMC and Dell are also extending their partnership for another five years to 2013.

Currently Dell supplies EMC Clariion AX and CX modular drive arrays with the CX positioned as Fibre Channel-access arrays fitting above the Dell/EqualLogic PS series iSCSI arrays which are layered above the AX arrays in Dell's storage product line-up. It has a Windows-based network-attached storage (NAS) product and plans to add a NAS gateway to its EqualLogic PS arrays.

The Dell-branded Celerra NX4, EMC's entry-level NAS product, will be positioned above the Windows NAS in Dell's product range, and offer a higher level of performance. According to IDC EMC is the NAS market leader in revenue share terms with NetApp second.

Praveen Asthana, Dell's enterprise storage director, said that the Dell and EMC partnership "is probably the most successful partnership in storage". Some 60,000 Dell/EMC installations have been made since the relationship started in 2001. He said that Celerra is the first non-Clariion EMC product to be taken on board by Dell.

Well, yes, but why point this out unless it's significant because... there may be more? Is that the coded message here?

Concerning rumours of a clustered filer relationship with Exanet, Asthana said: "We don't have a relationship with Exanet right now. We have a very broad customer base. No single product can meet all our needs, so we are constantly looking at other things. There is no formal relationship with Exanet."

This renewed Dell-EMC deal will stop speculation that Dell is moving away from EMC by building up the EqualLogic line to render Clariion CX4 products redundant. It may indeed happen at some stage but it's equally likely that EMC will add FCoE (Fibre Channel over Ethernet) capability to the CX4 and Dell then keep it as the enterprise SAN array for Fibre Channel shops.

Dell will be hoping that this extra EMC Celerra magic, which should ship in the first half of next year, will increase its storage revenues relative to the disk storage market and boost its revenues overall too. ®

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