Dell to manufacture EMC storage device

By Mark A. DeSorbo

HOPKINTON, MA—DUDE, YOU'RE working with Dell. That sentiment sums up a deal EMC Corp. recently struck with Dell Computer Corp. (Austin, TX), an agreement that will allow Dell to manufacture data storage hardware under a year-old partnership between the two companies and disclose new details of Dell's growing role as a reseller of EMC's equipment for small- and medium-sized businesses.

It could also mean huge opportunities for purveyors of electrostatic discharge (ESD) products and services. One quick shock could render a server scrap.

Rick Lacroix, director of public relations at EMC, says ankle-bands are being used to ground personnel and manufacturing equipment.

Similar precautions taken at Dell

“All of the builders wear what we call a grounding band that is connected to their wrist, and from that band there is a cord that goes to their work station, which is grounded to rubber mats,” says Michelle Hanson, a spokesperson for Dell Storage.

For the time being, however, the relationship between Dell and EMC flourishes, and Dell's president, Kevin Rollins, has squashed the suggestion of a merger or acquisition, downplaying speculation that EMC's struggles could prompt a takeover by Dell.

During a press conference in late October, top executives at the companies said they put their heads together through joint purchasing agreements to compete against such data-storage rivals as Hewlett-Packard Co. and Hitachi Data Systems.

The first product to result from the partnership, the $30,000 Dell EMC CX200, rolled out October 28, and Dell will assemble the server at plants in Austin, Limerick, Ireland and Penang, Malaysia.

“In general, this is a move into a market that we have not been active in,” Lacroix says. “Traditionally, EMC has been in the higher end of the market with systems that can cost $1 million. This new segment has systems that start in around the $30,000 range, and this is an area of the market that is a sweet spot for Dell. EMC has access to Dell's distribution and Dell has access to EMC's technology.”

EMC will continue to build its own versions of its Clariion CX200 at its plants in Apex, NC, and in Cork, Ireland, both for its own sales force and to supply resellers like Unisys and Fujitsu, which compete with Dell for some customers, Lacroix says.

For now, he adds, the company will continue to manufacture more advanced versions of its Clariion storage equipment line itself for now, but may provide Dell the opportunity to also partake in function.

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The Dell EMC CX200, the first product to result from the Dell/EMC partnership, is designed to rival Hewlett-Packard and Hitachi Data Systems products.


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