EMC and Microsoft Renew Alliance Despite Virtualization Conflict

Data StorageStorage

Microsoft and data storage giant EMC are renewing their product partnership, despite growing competition in the fast-growing area of virtualization.

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

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 the 31st December, 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 said at an event for CIOs and other IT executives at the Plaza Hotel in New York.

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.

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 Centre Operations Manager product.

A previous co-development project linked 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 Centre and jointly supported mission-critical workload software such as Exchange, SQL Server and SharePoint Server.

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