EMC acquires VMWare

EMC Corp.’s proposed US$635 million purchase of virtual computing software maker VMware Inc. will open new opportunities for resellers, says an industry analyst.

“”Overall I think it will be positive for them,”” David Hill, a vice-president a research director for storage management at the Boston-based

Aberdeen Group.

Integrators carrying lines from both companies will not only be able to offer virtualization software, he said, they’ll be able to offer data protection and content management products as well.

If the deal goes through it will also expand EMC’s fledgling reseller network. After years of selling mainly direct, the storage company is expanding into the channel for its own products, as well through the channels of recently acquired Documentum Inc. and Legato Systems.

According to its Web site, VMware has about two dozen resellers here, some of whom also carry EMC products.

VMware’s products let companies create virtual application servers on Intel- and AMD-based hardware that can run multiple applications and operating systems. It promises improvements in server consolidation, resource management and disaster recovery, but the products don’t touch storage.

EMC offers storage virtualization and consolidation software with mirrored arrays that protect data, but its software doesn’t touch applications.

According to Chris Gahagan, EMC’s senior vice-president of storage infrastructure software, EMC plans to create new bundled applications with VMware technology that let companies create a single pool of storage and computing resources.

“”If you combine what we can do with moving data and what they can do with moving the workload, it allows complete flexibility in the data centre,”” he said.

“”So if the customer has to do server maintenance or storage maintenance, or both, at the same time they can do it a way that would not introduce any application outage.””

That vision in part puts EMC in competition with partners IBM and Hewlett-Packard, who both have so-called ‘computing on demand’ infrastructures.

But Gahagan said partners will be allowed to build similar bundles with EMC/VMware applications.

VMware will continue to operate as a separate division within EMC.

As for resellers, “”the advantage to them is to be able to offer more integrated solutions and greater value to their customers,”” he said.

“”Straightforward”” bundled solutions will begin appearing in a few months – assuming the boards of both companies approve the deal – with more complex applications coming later, Gahagan said.

Among the Canadian systems integrators that could benefit is Infostream Technologies Inc. of Richmond Hill, Ont., an EMC partner that became a VMware enterprise reseller this fall.

It just finished a server consolidation project using VMware for a customer, according to Dan Costantini, Infostream’s director of strategic alliances.

“”We were mildly surprised at this turn of events,”” he said of the proposed purchase.

“”It certainly indicates to me that EMC is making serious attempts to reposition themselves as a software provider.””

But he said it’s too early to say if it will mean more opportunities for his firm.

It’s the third major software purchase done by EMC recently. In October is announced a US$1.7 billion stock purchase of Documentum, an enterprise content management application specialist.

The same month it finalized the $1.3 billion purchase of Legato Systems, which focuses on backup software.

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Howard Solomon
Howard Solomon
Currently a freelance writer. Former editor of ITWorldCanada.com and Computing Canada. An IT journalist since 1997, Howard has written for several of ITWC's sister publications, including ITBusiness.ca. Before arriving at ITWC he served as a staff reporter at the Calgary Herald and the Brampton (Ont.) Daily Times.

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