EMC: Channel More Important Now That Dell Deal Is Done

Speaking at the EMC Forum 2011 event in Foxboro, Mass., Gelsinger emphasized EMC’s efforts to significantly build up its channel presence as its product portfolio grows.

"EMC is becoming channel-friendly and channel-focused in a way we never have before, and we are looking to expand our partner list every day," Gelsinger told conference attendees.

He also shed light on the company's initiative to push big, unstructured, and mission critical data sets to the cloud to enable more "transformative IT" within its customer sites.

Gelsinger also stressed the importance of EMC’s relationship with VCE in accelerating the customer's "journey" to private clouds through integrated Cisco, EMC, and VMware technologies, particularly within its Vblock offerings.

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After his keynote, Gelsinger divulged the details of EMC’s remodeled channel strategy, telling CRN that the severance of its long-running reseller relationship with Dell was a driving force behind efforts to expand its partnerships.

"Clearly, in the wake of what happened with the Dell relationship, it [the channel] has become more important to us, because reaching many partners was done through the Dell relationship," Gelsinger said. "Now that this is no longer moving forward, we have to do this ourselves. And the channel has responded very favorably to that. Now, we have a very clean and focused strategy."

In addition to partner enablement programs, Gelsinger cited EMC’s increased offering of "channel-only” products as a significant stride toward a more VAR-centric strategy. EMC’s VNXe series -- a unified storage platform geared toward SMBs -- along with the Data Domain DD160 small enterprise data center and remote office appliance, for instance, are being sold strictly through the channel. "We have clearly drawn a line," Gelsinger told CRN, "and said that these are channel-only products."

According to Gelsinger, EMC’s efforts to gain traction within the channel have been a success. "In the first six months of this year, we have doubled our channel presence, in terms of numbers of partners," he said, "and our 'non-Dell' channel business grew over 40 percent in Q3."

Invoking a "one-door-must-close-for-another-to-open" feeling, Gelsinger looped EMC’s revamped channel strategy back to its ended partnership with Dell. "It worked and it was very successful for both companies for a decade," Gelsinger told CRN. "Unfortunately, it came to an end. At the end of the day, it just didn’t happen. But now, as a result, we have put a lot of focus on building out our own channel."