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Graves said EMC's VNXe products compare to the Dell EqualLogic PS4000 and PS6000 appliances, while the VNX is above those two Dell products in capabilities.
The VNX/VNXe is a great solution, and Dell plans to resell them into its base of customers who have purchased the Dell-EMC line, Graves said. But for new storage customers, Dell will most likely sell its EqualLogic products, which he said are easy to use and manage, provide a tiered architecture, and are proven in virtualized environments.
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.
EMC channel partners who were concerned about competing with Dell on EMC storage sales can breathe more easily, EMC said. However, they should not discount Dell as a competitor.
Next: Dell And EMC Continue To Move Apart