Cisco To Resell EMC's NAS Appliances

Officials of the two technology giants on Monday unveiled an agreement under which Cisco, San Jose, Calif., will sell EMC NAS appliances under the Cisco brand as part of a solution to allow centralized backup of data from remote offices over IP networks.

There are two parts to the agreement, said George Kurian, vice president and general manager of Cisco's Caching Services Business Unit.

The first is an agreement to develop technology aimed at optimizing wide area networks (WANs) to remove PC servers from branch offices while moving data storage to a centralized location, Kurian said. This is based on Cisco's WAN File Access technology, which the company introduced last month along with a new series of Cisco File Engine appliances to move data across a WAN with the performance of a LAN.

The second is an OEM agreement under which Cisco will sell and support EMC's NS500 and NS700 NAS appliances rebranded with the Cisco moniker.

Sponsored post

The NS500 and NS700 have the same hardware as EMC's Clariion CX500 and CX700, except that the NS family is a NAS appliance with an IP interface, compared to the CX family's use as a SAN array, said Tom Joyce, senior director for platforms marketing at EMC, Hopkinton, Mass. As such, the NS family connects direct to an IP network, while the CX arrays connect to a SAN, he said.

Under the agreement, Cisco will sell the NS500 or NS700 with Cisco File Engines as a complete solution for WAN-based data protection, Kurian said. An enterprise can purchase an NS500 or NS700, depending on capacity requirements, for a central data backup location, along with a Cisco File Engine appliance for each remote branch office. The Cisco File Engines would be connected to the NAS appliance to handle remote data backup.

Kurian compared the new Cisco bundle to the way in which data at remote offices is now typically protected. He said the typical enterprise today requires a PC server or high-end workstation with its own storage capacity, backup and security software, operating system, tape autoloader and a local IT person. That solution might run between $30,000 and $40,000 per year per office, Kurian said. However, putting a Cisco File Engine, with a list price of $12,000, in each remote office with an EMC NAS appliance in a central location could be treated more as a one-time capital expense of $10,000 to $15,000 per remote office, he said.

While it is possible for solution providers to put together a similar bundle using a Cisco File Engine and an EMC or other NAS appliance, the new Cisco bundle offers the advantage of coming from a single vendor, Kurian said. "That leave just one throat to choke," he said.

The Cisco File Engine was released to the company's channel last month, Kurian said. Cisco plans to offer the new bundle through its field sales force and direct solution providers during the second quarter of this year, with sales through its two-tier channel partners expected to start sometime after that, he said.