IBM, NetApp join forces against EMC

The two storage technology makers are teaming up to challenge EMC through a new branding and distribution agreement.

IBM and Network Appliance announced a new manufacturing partnership Wednesday, through which the two companies will jointly market some storage products in an effort to take on market leader EMC.

Under the terms of the deal, IBM will soon begin selling systems made by Network Appliance under Big Blue's own brand, specifically creating products around the company's network attached storage and storage area network products. The IBM-branded packages will feature versions of Network Appliance's NearStore and NetApp V-Series storage systems, including the software on which those devices run.

The companies said that under the agreement, IBM will market Network Appliance technologies in more countries worldwide than any other reseller of the manufacturer's storage products.

IBM executives said the deal creates an alternative for EMC customers seeking greater flexibility in terms of architecture development because Network Appliance-built systems are based on open standards design.

"We are seeing a clear movement among our clients away from point solutions into more integrated offerings," said Barry Rudolph, worldwide vice president of IBM Total Storage. "Open cooperative relationships in the industry allow us to offer a much broader portfolio and give IBM the ability to provide more choice and reach than our proprietary competitors, including EMC."

According to the two companies, the agreement will also serve to promote integration of Network Appliance's software applications with IBM's Tivoli Storage Manager product line. The IBM software is a backup and recovery package designed specifically for use with its partner's products. In addition, Network Appliance said it would position IBM as its preferred supplier of tape systems in its NetApp products.

The companies added that they are exploring other potential partnerships.

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