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Dell ditches EMC after 10 years

Will push own storage kit after ending relationship

Intelligent flash storage arrays

Dell has officially stopped reselling EMC kit and will instead push its own storage kit. Let battle be joined.

This means Dell will not sell Dell-branded EMC OEM and resold EMC CLARiiON, Celerra, Data Domain and VNX products. However, Dell will support existing customers with these products. It will resell capacity upgrades (drives and enclosures) and software titles for as long as EMC also sells these upgrades, possibly through 2016.

Customers needing new products will get offered Dell's line of storage hardware.

The EMC reselling deal had been in place for 10 years and served both companies well. However, Dell saw that storage was becoming more and more important and saw the advantages of selling its own storage equipment and keeping all the revenues.

In pursuit of that goal it began buying storage suppliers that were early entrants to growing markets and put together it its own across-the-mainstream-board storage offering. The companies it bought were EqualLogic for iSCSI storage; Exanet for scale-out NAS technology; Compellent for Fibre Channel storage; and Ocarina for data compression and optimisation. It made its own DX6000 object storage hardware and partnered with Caringo for the software.

It lacks a pure filer offering but a combination of NAS heads for EqualLogic and Compellent and the Exanet technology provides NAS functionality. Partnership deals with Symantec and CommVault provide various pieces of storage software functionality such as archiving.

Dell says it has spent more than $2bn (£1.27bn) building up its storage portfolio and it will spend $1bn this financial year to gain technology in the data centre, mobile and cloud environments. It said its own storage properties provide almost 80 per cent of its storage revenues and 90 per cent of its profits in the second quarter of this year.

Dell reckons it has done very well with its storage acquisitions. EqualLogic revenues have grown sevenfold, making EqualLogic the iSCSI market leader, since the acquisition. Compellent revenues and new customer numbers in the first six months of this year are both larger than in the whole of 2010. It has built up the Compellent team from 500 at acquisition time to more than 820 currently.

If these trends continue then Dell could, and should, climb out of the "Others" category in IDC's quarterly Storage Tracker for external disk revenues. It will be a dismal failure if it doesn't. ®

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