EMC Hints At Keeping RSA Separate

Although EMC last week hinted about plans to bring RSA Security's partner program into its own once the acquisition closes, it appears that is not the plan.

At the very least, not integrating the two companies' partner programs increases the odds that EMC may continue marketing RSA's encryption and key management technology on a standalone basis.

An EMC spokeswoman today clarified remarks made last week by John Koury, the company's vice president of global channel marketing, that suggested the company would likely bring RSA partners into EMC's Velocity program after the $2.1 billion deal closes; Velocity is the umbrella partner program for just about all of the EMC family of companies, with the exception of VMware, which operates as a standalone subsidiary.

"Just as we acquire software companies, EMC got much smarter about software," Koury said in an interview last week at CMP's XChange 2006 conference in St. Louis, Koury said, adding that EMC aims to bring all companies it acquires into Velocity. "We will get much smarter about [security] and a much better idea about what that [partner] ecosystem looks like."

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An EMC spokeswoman now is clarifying Koury's remarks.

"Our current plan is to keep the RSA channel program completely separate from the EMC Velocity channel program after the acquisition closes," she said in an e-mail. When asked to elaborate, she responded that the company could not comment further.

"We are still in the planning phase and are not at the point where we can discuss the full details of our go-to-market strategy, which includes the channel," she said in a follow-up e-mail.

For RSA partners, the latest hint keeps most questions on the table.

"My understanding is there is no changes to the partner programs," says Rich Tarabour, director of product development at RSA partner Alliant Technologies, a provider of IT infrastructure solutions and managed services based in Morristown, N.J. "That is as far as my headlights can go."

While Alliant was once an EMC partner, the two companies butt heads when EMC stepped up its services effort, and the partnership came to an end. For now, Tarabour's focus is to continue driving sales of RSA's solutions.

"Right now we are working with our RSA colleagues to keep driving sales," he says. "As we get more guidance from EMC, we will validate the attractiveness of the programs."