EMC's New Tech Allies

Plans call for EMC to produce entry-level NAS appliances, dubbed NetWin 200, based on Microsoft's Windows Powered NAS operating system. Meanwhile, EMC and Cisco unveiled a letter of intent for EMC to resell and support a co-branded version of Cisco's MDS 9000 family of Multilayer Directors and Fabric Switches.

Slated to ship next quarter, the NetWin 200 appliances will be sold through the channel at prices ranging from $50,000 to $135,000, said Chuck Hollis, vice president of platforms marketing at EMC, Hopkinton, Mass. The price will include an industry-standard server built by Dell Computer or another supplier, bundled with an EMC Clariion array and software, he said.


Done deal: Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer with EMC President, CEO Joe Tucci.

EMC also plans to work with Microsoft to enhance its high-end Celerra NAS gateways, Hollis added. "The future of NAS in the corporate environment is defined by Microsoft," he said.

Many entry-level NAS appliances are already available, so it's unclear how EMC's offering will fare, solution providers said.

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Carl Wolfston, director of Headlands Associates, Pleasanton, Calif., said he wonders what EMC will do differently than Dell in that segment. "Dell is making the hardware, and Microsoft the software," he said.

EMC also agreed to integrate Microsoft's Windows Server 2003 storage APIs into EMC storage platforms. The move includes APIs for Virtual Disk Service, Volume ShadowCopy Service and Multipath I/O. The API integration gives customers a standard way to manage those features, Hollis said.

But that integration is a double-edged sword, Wolfston said. "Now I can go to EMC customers and say, 'Mr. Customer, with your big EMC box, I have something that works here instead,' " he said.

In the deal with Cisco, EMC plans to develop software applications hosted on Cisco's MDS 9000 platform. The co-branded version of MDS 9000, due this quarter, will be sold by channel partners and EMC's direct-sales force, EMC said.

This marks the first time Cisco has agreed to co-brand a SAN switching product, said Soni Jiandani, vice president of marketing for the Cisco Storage Technology Group. On the outside of the box, the product will bear an EMC Connectrix MDS 9000 label, while inside it will have both EMC and Cisco branding, Jiandani said.

STEVEN BURKE contributed to this story.