Dell's acquisition of EqualLogic spawned some initial speculation about whether Dell was going to try to cut EMC out of its product portfolio. Though that is possible, Dell knows better than to bite the hand that feeds it.
EqualLogic is (or was) a competitor to EMC but only offers a storage system targeted at Ethernet storage networks. That fact alone disqualifies EqualLogic from displacing EMC. Too many corporate customers still want and use Fibre Channel to connect their mission-critical servers to their high-end storage systems and need local engineers to support them. This plays to EMC's strengths, not EqualLogic's.
More likely, Dell will use EqualLogic is satisfy these same corporate customers who want to connect hundreds if not thousands of their Windows, Linux and VMware servers to easy-to-manage storage systems using a low-cost storage network.
This plays to the strength of the EqualLogic PS Series storage systems. The PS Series support of iSCSI SANs enables cheap server-to-storage connectivity for these corporate servers. The PS Series management software is free, includes such features as LUN management and data replication, and is managed via a Web-based GUI.
Yet the most intriguing feature within its software may be its ability to create a large logical virtual pool of storage. Administrators may configure multiple physical EqualLogic storage systems so they look and act as one single logical storage system. This allows administrators to balance workloads across members in the storage pool or migrate data between them.
Dell's acquisition of EqualLogic is still likely to cause some friction between Dell and EMC, especially where EMC's entry-level Clariion storage systems are concerned. However, this acquisition makes good sense for Dell and should give Dell a decided edge in the emerging market of connecting corporate servers to low-cost Ethernet SANs.
Jerome Wendt is president and a lead analyst at DCIG. He may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.