EMC Lenovo Deal Raises Questions For EMC-Cisco VCE Partnership


The data center has traditionally been a series of storage, server and networking silos and virtualization is breaking those silos down and making multiple strategic relationships between different vendors possible, Presidio’s Kaplan said.

"Today, servers, storage and networking are getting more intertwined," he said. "And, the demand for new technology is expanding as the technology itself expands. So, there's a lot more opportunities for partnerships. So, I don't see a change in Cisco's and EMC's relationship, at least in the short term. Same for VCE. These relationships are growing."

AJ Ragosta, vice president of sales and marketing at Varrow, a Greensboro, N.C.-based solution provider and partner to EMC, Cisco and VCE, said his company remains committed to selling Cisco's UCS servers. "I've never heard of us running into Lenovo," Ragosta said. "I see little to no overlap between Lenovo and Cisco."

One solution provider, who requested anonymity, said in an emailed response to CRN that Lenovo doesn't have a prayer in the U.S. market with servers even though it is doing quite well with desktop and mobile PC sales.

"I think [Lenovo is] the clear #1 in the commercial and enterprise space. As for EMC I see nothing catching between the two and don’t know what is in it for EMC. I doubt it would present any value to us. As for the sordid relationships between OEMs, ... I would have a better chance of understanding a 70s swinger party than EMC, VM, Cisco, IBM, NetApp and how those relationships work," the solution provider wrote.

That solution provider wrote that Lenovo will likely not do well with the EMC relationship in the U.S. market because Lenovo does not have a strong brand presence here. "And that is not something you develop overnight, just ask Cisco. Commercial customers do not like [unknown] platforms particularly without a very compelling reason," he wrote.

Douglas Grosfield, president and CEO of Xylotek Solutions, a Cambridge, Ontario-based solution provider and Lenovo partner, wrote in an emailed response to CRN that vendors in the x86-based server market have been working towards simplifying their businesses to varying degrees of success.

"Lenovo decides it is time to step up their game once again, and partnering with one of the foremost giants in storage technologies in EMC shows Lenovo’s commitment to the direction they are taking in expanding their offerings in the server and storage space. ... This is an aggressive move on both Lenovo's and EMC’s parts. This will open the door for a higher level of integration and competition, providing partners like Xylotek with yet another cohesive solution offering to present to our clients," Grosfield wrote.

Kristin Bent, Chad Berndtson and Scott Campbell contributed to this article.

PUBLISHED AUG. 2, 2012