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EMC's release Tuesday of its new VNX family of SMB storage arrays, and particularly the entry-level VNXe series, makes official what the industry has seen coming for some time: Dell is no longer a favored partner to EMC.
Indeed, the increasing complexity of the relationship between the two companies, who since signing their first reseller agreement in 2001 have been close partners, is reflected in the fact that the two this week don't quite agree how they will deal with EMC's new VNX and VNXe storage appliance line.
EMC originally made it clear in conversations with CRN that its new VNXe series, which target the "S" in SMB with unified storage arrays featuring list prices starting under $10,000, will be available to every one of its channel partners save Dell, a far cry from a couple years ago when Dell accounted for as much as one-third of EMC's midrange Clariion product line.
EMC Chairman, CEO, and President Joe Tucci was blunt when asked by CRN about how EMC plans to work with Dell in terms of the new product family.
"In this product line there is no Dell partnership," Tucci said. "In any conversations we have had with Dell, Dell will not take up this partnership. They will not resell this product."
That is not quite correct, said David Graves, a Dell spokesperson.
Dell, through its reseller agreement with EMC, is already selling the VNX products with the EMC brand, Graves said.
Dell is also in discussions with EMC over the possibility of selling the VNX with the Dell-EMC badge, the same moniker it currently uses for the Clariion products it sells.
Dell and EMC have mutually agreed that Dell will not sell the VNXe because of the overlap between that model and Dell's EqualLogic and PowerVault lines, Graves said.
EMC said through a spokesperson that Dell is not selling its VNXe line, and that there are no plans at this time for that to happen. However, EMC said, Dell is also not selling the VNX systems at this time, but that the two companies are in discussions.
Dell's not having access to the VNXe is a huge opportunity for EMC's other partners, Tucci said.
"Obviously some channel partners -- maybe all channel partners -- would see Dell as a competitor," he said. "Here we are saying, 'Don't worry about it -- Dell is not getting this product.' It sounds like I'm saying, 'You can't have it Dell.' Basically it doesn't fit their strategy. It doesn't fit our strategy."
Next: EMC's Primary Competition For VNX/VNXe Could Be Dell