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Jamie Shepard, executive vice president of technology solutions at ICI, a Marlborough, Mass.-based solution provider and one of EMC's top channel partners, said that EMC's new VNXe's top competitor is definitely Dell.
EMC made the VNXe a very easy-to-install product line to convince the numerous smaller partners who are now selling tons of VMware licenses with Dell storage products to go with EMC instead, especially now that Dell is in the process of acquiring Compellent, a key EMC competitor, Shepard said.
"My message to Dell is, get out of the storage business and focus on what you do best," he said. "Getting Compellent won't help Dell. Dell should focus on virtualization and on the high-end consulting business."
The release of the VNX and VNXe families will further push EMC and Dell apart in that it also signals the pending end of EMC's Clariion product, long the keystone of those two companies' relationship.
Eric Herzog, vice president of product management and product marketing at EMC, said that EMC expects customers to start transitioning purchases of Clariion arrays, which were designed primarily for block storage, and the Celerra appliances, designed for file storage, to the VNX and VNXe unified storage platform, which combines both block and file storage in a single appliance.
"We will continue to sell Clariion and Celerra for the foreseeable future," Herzog said. "However, those will primarily be to customers who have qualified those products already."
Herzog also said that, while EMC will support Clariion and Celerra with bug fixes and with Unisphere support, it will no longer update those lines processor power or disk storage.
While EMC channel partners who were concerned about competing with Dell on EMC storage sales can now breathe more freely, they should not discount Dell as a competitor.
Dell's gradual break with EMC was due, in part, to Dell's gradual rise as not only a serious competitor in the storage market, but also as a company with a solid and growing channel program focused primarily on the storage business.
That rise dated from late 2007, when Dell unveiled a $1.4-billion bid to acquire EqualLogic, one of the pioneers in the fast-growing iSCSI business. Dell closed that acquisition in 2008, and since then it has become Dell's most important storage product line.
Next: Dell And EMC Continue To Move Apart