IBM, NetApp Get Cozier at EMC’s Expense


IBM will resell hardware and software from Network
Appliance , as both companies seek to put more distance
between EMC and themselves in the storage market.


Under the original equipment manufacturer (OEM) agreement, IBM will resell
networked-attached storage (NAS) , iSCSI and IP
storage area network (SAN) products from NetApp.


This includes NetApp NearStore disk-based backup and archiving devices, NetApp
V-Series unified storage systems and certain software offerings, said Andy Monshaw, general manager of IBM storage systems, on a conference call early
Wednesday.


Monshaw also said IBM will most likely pull its own NAS gateway machines
from the market, noting that NetApp offers the “industry’s best solutions in
this space and that’s why we’ve chosen to go this route.”


In other terms of the deal, NetApp will further integrate IBM’s Tivoli
storage management software, becoming a preferred backup and recovery
storage product for NetApp customers. NetApp will also position IBM as its
preferred supplier of tape systems for its customers, Monshaw said.


“The journey to become an on demand business is this move from a silo and
point solutions to connecting across the enterprise, business partners and
customers, ultimately building a fully integrated business and technology
environment,” Monshaw said.


The executive, who declined to reveal any financial details of the pact,
also said Big Blue and NetApp are exploring additional strategic
opportunities.


The deal, which comes at a time when one of the chief concerns among
corporations is adhering to corporate governance and record retention
regulations, makes a lot of sense for both companies.


NetApp has long been known as the leader in the NAS market, which is
expected to reach more than $3 billion, according to market research firm
IDC.


The company is also well regarded by analysts for its unified storage
provisions, which are so-called “gateway” devices that bridge the gap
between NAS and more complex SAN storage.


EMC is the No. 2 provider of NAS behind NetApp, so for IBM, the deal is
especially sweet because its current NAS suite is not particularly strong. Getting closer with NetApp changes that score, said Enterprise Strategy Group analyst Tony Asaro.


“I think this has some real market implications,” he said. “IBM should be
able to sell lots of NAS, but they haven’t had competitive products. Choosing
NetApp is key because IBM needs to beat EMC. NetApp has done a good job of
this in the NAS space time and time again. IBM wants to be the leading
storage vendor and in order to do that they need NAS.”


For this to happen, both companies must commit to making this work, Asaro
added.


This isn’t the first relationship between the two companies, noted NetApp
CEO Dan Warmenhoven on the call. IBM’s global services team has been an
“important integrator” for NetApp over the last several years.


The executive said both companies have worked together on database and
applications, including IBM’s’ DB2 Universal Database, Lotus and Rational
ClearCase lines.


“This positions Network Appliance in a big way in the IBM storage equation,”
Warmenhoven said.

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