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The times, they are a changin'.

Not too long ago, EMC announced its "EMC Select" reseller program. In a complete departure from every program in its past, this one has other vendors' products on the line card. The company has been OEMing Fibre Channel switches from Brocade and McData under its Connectrix brand for a long time, and added Cisco's MDS 9000 to the line over a year ago. It is clear that EMC, faced with the same crippling business downturns as the rest of the storage industry, is learning that the current IT business climate demands you change, or become overwhelmed.

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The first products offered through EMC Select include tape libraries, host bus adapters (HBAs) and selected connectivity products, which are available in configurations that have been EMC E-Lab Tested and qualified for interoperability. Products in the EMC Select Program will be available for sale by EMC's direct sales force and partners.

Initial products available through the EMC Select Program include:

Tape: ADIC Scalar family of automated tape libraries

HBAs: QLogic SANblade and Emulex LightPulse host bus adapters

Connectivity: CNT FC/9000 FICON Director, CNT UltraNet Edge 3000 Storage Router and UltraNet Storage Director--eXtended (USD-X)

The products included in EMC Select have all passed EMC's rigorous interoperability and qualification process. For customers who use tape as part of their tiered storage environments, EMC Select offers the ADIC Scalar series. QLogic and Emulex HBAs are available for host connectivity in Fibre Channel SAN environments. For customers who need FICON connectivity, channel extension over ESCON or Fibre Channel over IP distance extension, the EMC Select program offers CNT products that have been tested in specific configurations.

Under the program, EMC Select partners will directly deliver service and support for their specific products. EMC's Customer Service organization will continue to provide problem diagnosis and isolation for the entire infrastructure and will work in conjunction with all of the vendors through mutual customer support agreements.

With the implementation of EMC Select, however, EMC is taking a huge step beyond its historical one-sided view of remarketer relationships, and toward a philosophy that is far more partner-centric than product vendors, reseller partners, analysts and other observers ever believed possible. It's a step that really distances EMC from its direct-sell, Symmetrix-uber-alles hardware roots, approaching a business plan characterized by blended solutions and channels, including hardware, software, services, remarketers, and now product partners.

It is beyond debate that customers want to remove as much complexity and risk as practical when planning and implementing networked storage solutions. And the case can be made that enjoying a single source boasting a varied line card of pre-tested product is reassuring and could save time and grief. The only possible fly in this ointment is the hesitation that many feel about single-sourcing ... letting one company alone dictate a data center's storage destiny. Some data centers proudly proclaim themselves EMC houses. But others will hesitate. In any event, watching EMC move to a business model based on acting as an open end-to-end storage supplier certainly suggests that the times are a changin.

Mark Ferelli--Editor-In-Chief
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Title Annotation:Storage As I See It
Author:Ferelli, Mark
Publication:Computer Technology Review
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Sep 1, 2004
Words:508
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