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The strain widened to a crack this Summer when Dell made a bid to acquire another storage vendor, 3PAR. Dell eventually lost the deal to Hewlett-Packard after a short but intense bidding war, but not before the damage to its relationship with EMC was done.
EMC took a step back from its relationship as Dell moved to acquire 3PAR, said EMC Chairman, CEO, and President Joe Tucci at a meeting with analysts in October.
EMC's Clariion business was "obviously" affected by Dell's bid for 3PAR, Tucci said.
EMC and Dell are in discussions about how to restore their relationship, Tucci said. However, he said, it is important that the two make sure any agreement between them benefits both of them before their relationship returns to normal.
"Obviously, 3PAR was a setback in the relationship," he said.
EMC and Dell executives were unable to comment on their storage relationship.
However, David Frink, a corporate spokesperson for Dell, said in a statement e-mailed to CRN, "(I can) tell you that we value our relationship with EMC and believe that it will continue to be mutually beneficial. The CX family is doing well and we’ve recently launched the Dell-EMC data de-dupe and NAS solutions. As we build out our storage business, the nature of our relationship with EMC may evolve, but we’re in regular discussions with EMC on it. Secondly, (I) would say that EqualLogic is a high-margin solution."
The combination of Dell's acquisition of EqualLogic and its bid for 3PAR indicates that Dell has less of a need for its EMC storage relationship than in the past, and that means EMC no longer sees a reason to support Dell like it did in the past, said one solution provider who works with both vendors.
"Everybody has an agenda, from Tucci down to the sales reps on the street," the solution provider said. "EMC is all about getting the deal. If a partner sells EqualLogic, or even if it doesn't have right competencies, EMC will take the deal back."
Bredy, the Dell solution provider, said he cannot see how the Dell-EMC relationship can continue much longer, especially given how well Dell is doing with both its EqualLogic and its PowerVault storage lines.
"Dell is now able to stand on its own two feet," he said. "And EMC is capable of standing on its own. There's no reason for their strategic relationship."