Lenovo Teams Up with EMC for Converged Infrastructure

Turns out that one of the primary beneficiaries of the IBM (IBM) move to sell its x86 servers to Lenovo is going to be EMC and its partners.

Michael Vizard

January 22, 2015

3 Min Read
Lenovo Teams Up with EMC for Converged Infrastructure

Turns out that one of the primary beneficiaries of the IBM (IBM) move to sell its x86 servers to Lenovo is going to be EMC and its partners.

Lenovo and EMC have rolled out a reference architecture for building private cloud and virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) platforms using Lenovo Flex System converged infrastructure and EMC VSPEX storage.

David Tareen, director of Product Marketing for Flex System at Lenovo, said the reference architectures are designed to reduce the amount of time it takes solution providers to create a custom implementation that combines Lenovo systems and EMC storage. The goal, said Tareen, is to make it possible for solution providers to build systems that are tuned to the specific application requirements of a particular customers, vs. selling pre-configured systems in “t-shirt sizes” of small, medium and large.

Gary Garcia, director of VSPEX Marketing at EMC, said his company will provide the support for these systems, eliminating the need for solution providers to navigate two different support organizations.

Converged infrastructure, of course, is one of the hottest segments of the hardware market. Dominated mainly by Cisco Systems (CSCO), roughly half the storage systems attached to Cisco servers come from EMC. But EMC also had a joint marketing relationship with Lenovo before it acquired the IBM x86 server line. Since then, EMC has assumed control of a joint converged infrastructure venture it created with Cisco, while simultaneously moving to expand its relationship with Lenovo.

For its part, as part of its deal with IBM Lenovo will also continue to resell IBM storage systems. IBM, meanwhile, turned around right after the deal with Lenovo was closed and formed an alliance under which IBM storage systems will be sold with Cisco servers. At about the same time, Cisco, which maintains a strong relationship with NetApp, also announced that it was partnering with Pure Storage to create a converged infrastructure platform based on an all-Flash array.

The rolling out of new reference architectures from Lenovo and EMC is only the latest twist in a tangled web of server and storage vendor relationships that solution providers must navigate.

The upside of all those relationships is that they give partners that have dual citizenship in multiple IT infrastructure vendor programs maximum flexibility. The downside is they can create support challenges when partners are forced to navigate two separate customer support organizations. In addition, solution providers need to pay attention to where the revenue for providing that support actually winds up—more often than not, it winds up with the vendor rather than them, unless they have both the core competency required to deliver that support and a very explicit contract that says that revenue belongs to the solution provider.

The good news, however, is that in the event there ever is an issue, replacing one vendor partner with another becomes simpler as the relationships between all them continues to intertwine.

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About the Author(s)

Michael Vizard

Michael Vizard is a seasoned IT journalist, with nearly 30 years of experience writing and editing about enterprise IT issues. He is a contributor to publications including Programmableweb, IT Business Edge, CIOinsight and UBM Tech. He formerly was editorial director for Ziff-Davis Enterprise, where he launched the company’s custom content division, and has also served as editor in chief for CRN and InfoWorld. He also has held editorial positions at PC Week, Computerworld and Digital Review.

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