Dell has been a reseller and manufacturer of EMC low-end and midrange arrays since 2002. As the partnership grows and Dell's annual storage revenue passes the US$1.5 billion mark, Dell CEO Kevin Rollins must clearly define his company's role as a partner and potential competitor to EMC.
At Storage Networking World this week, Rollins spoke with Computerworld about Dell's evolving relationship with EMC and about his plans to support the emerging Internet SCSI standard to help users manage increasingly complex storage-area networks.
How much is Dell competing with EMC as you creep up the storage stack and EMC creeps down the stack?
Not too much, because most of our business will be in the small-to-medium business space. That's why we did the partnership.
Are there any plans to expand the agreement to have Dell manufacture EMC's high-end systems?
Probably. Well, I don't know. Maybe. It's so problematic, because if they sell them through any channel partners, it's hard for those channel partners to buy from us. Up until this point in time, it hasn't made any sense.
Are Dell and EMC potential merger candidates?
I don't think so. The partnership came about because we've got the access to markets, and (they've) got the technology but can't ramp it.
We haven't stated (a merger) as a goal. And I think EMC is very happy staying independent. We don't need to join each other, and if we did, I'm not sure what the benefit would be.
How is Dell working on standards other than through its membership in standards bodies?
We're not only on them . . . we're trying to drive them. It's clear that as we do that, there are two or three major players that don't want that to happen very fast.
Why are some vendors hoping to slow down the process?
They have their own proprietary technology, and it'll force them to give that up on behalf of an industry standard, which will mean customers will have more choice and can shift from vendor to vendor or bring (multiple) vendors into their shops.
How does the iSCSI standard play into Dell's plans?
Our plans are to introduce a product in our fourth quarter.
What will that be? An array or a network device?
I really can't say yet.
Do you think iSCSI will overtake Fibre Channel for storage networking?
Not right away, but over time, iSCSI is going to pose a big challenge to Fibre Channel.