What does new EMC and Lenovo partnership mean?

August 1, 2012 – 1:03 pm

EMC and EMCworldLenovo Thinkpad

The past several weeks have been busy with various merger, acquisitions and collaborating activity in the IT and data storage world. Summer time often brings new relationships and even summer marriages. The most recent is EMC and Lenovo announcing a new partnership that includes OEM sourcing of technology, market expansion and other initiatives. Hmm, does anybody remember who EMCs former desktop and server partner was, or who put Lenovo out for adoption several years ago?

Here is the press release from EMC and Lenovo that you can read yourself vs. me simply paraphrasing it:

Lenovo and EMC Team Up In Strategic Worldwide Partnership
A Solid Step in Lenovo’s Aspiration to Be a Player in Industry Standard Servers and Networked Storage with EMC’s Leading Technology; EMC Further Strengthens Ability to Serve Customers’ Storage Solutions Needs in China and Other Emerging Markets; Companies Agree to Form SMB-Focused Storage Joint Venture
BEIJING, China – August 1, 2012
Lenovo (HKSE: 992) (ADR: LNVGY) and EMC Corporation (NYSE: EMC) today announced a broad partnership that enhances Lenovo’s position in industry standard servers and networked storage solutions, while significantly expanding EMC’s reach in China and other key, high-growth markets. The new partnership is expected to spark innovation and additional R&D in the server and storage markets by maximizing the product development talents and resources at both companies, while driving scale and efficiency in the partners’ respective supply chains.
The partnership is a strong strategic fit, leveraging the two leading companies’ respective strengths, across three main areas:

  • First, Lenovo and EMC have formed a server technology development program that will accelerate and extend Lenovo’s capabilities in the x86 industry-standard server segment. These servers will be brought to market by Lenovo and embedded into selected EMC storage systems over time.
  • Second, the companies have forged an OEM and reseller relationship in which Lenovo will provide EMC’s industry-leading networked storage solutions to its customers, initially in China and expanding into other global markets in step with the ongoing development of its server business.
  • Finally, EMC and Lenovo plan to bring certain assets and resources from EMC’s Iomega business into a new joint venture which will provide Network Attached Storage (NAS) systems to small/medium businesses (SMB) and distributed enterprise sites.

“Today’s announcement with industry leader EMC is another solid step in our journey to build on our foundation in PCs and become a leader in the new PC-plus era,” said Yuanqing Yang, Lenovo chairman and CEO. “This partnership will help us fully deliver on our PC-plus strategy by giving us strong back-end capabilities and business foundation in servers and storage, in addition to our already strong position in devices. EMC is the perfect partner to help us fully realize the PC-plus opportunity in the long term.”
Joe Tucci, chairman and CEO of EMC, said, “The relationship with Lenovo represents a powerful opportunity for EMC to significantly expand our presence in China, a vibrant and very important market, and extend it to other parts of the world over time. Lenovo has clearly demonstrated its ability to apply its considerable resources and expertise not only to enter, but to lead major market segments. We’re excited to partner with Lenovo as we focus our combined energies serving a broader range of customers with industry-leading storage and server solutions.”
In the joint venture, Lenovo will contribute cash, while EMC will contribute certain assets and resources of Iomega. Upon closing, Lenovo will hold a majority interest in the new joint venture. During and after the transition from independent operations to the joint venture, customers will experience continuity of service, product delivery and warranty fulfillment. The joint venture is subject to customary closing procedures including regulatory approvals and is expected to close by the end of 2012.
The partnership described here is not considered material to either company’s current fiscal year earnings.
About Lenovo
Lenovo (HKSE: 992) (ADR: LNVGY) is a $US30 billion personal technology company and the world’s second largest PC company, serving customers in more than 160 countries. Dedicated to building exceptionally engineered PCs and mobile internet devices, Lenovo’s business is built on product innovation, a highly efficient global supply chain and strong strategic execution. Formed by Lenovo Group’s acquisition of the former IBM Personal Computing Division, the Company develops, manufactures and markets reliable, high-quality, secure and easy-to-use technology products and services. Its product lines include legendary Think-branded commercial PCs and Idea-branded consumer PCs, as well as servers, workstations, and a family of mobile internet devices, including tablets and smart phones. Lenovo has major research centers in Yamato, Japan; Beijing, Shanghai and Shenzhen, China; and Raleigh, North Carolina. For more information, see www.lenovo.com.
About EMC
EMC Corporation is a global leader in enabling businesses and service providers to transform their operations and deliver IT as a service. Fundamental to this transformation is cloud computing. Through innovative products and services, EMC accelerates the journey to cloud computing, helping IT departments to store, manage, protect and analyze their most valuable asset — information — in a more agile, trusted and cost-efficient way. Additional information about EMC can be found at www.EMC.com.

StorageIO industry trends and perspectives

What is my take?

I have been buying and using Lenovo desktop and laptop products for over a decade and currently typing this post from my X1 ThinkPad equipped with a Samsung SSD. Likewise I bought an Iomega IX4 NAS a couple of years ago (so I am a customer), am a Retrospect customer (EMC bought and then sold them off), used to be a Mozy user (now a former customer) and EMC has been a client of StorageIO in the past.

Lenovo Thinkpad
Some of my Lenovo(s) and EMC Iomega IX4

Let us take a step back for a moment, Lenovo was the spinout and sale from IBM who has a US base in Raleigh North Carolina. While IBM still partners with Lenovo for desktops, IBM over the past years or decade(s) has been more strategically focused on big enterprise environments, software and services. Note that IBM has continued enhancing its own Intel based servers (e.g. xSeries), propriety Power processor series, storage and technology solutions (here, here, here and here among others). However, for the most part, IBM has moved away from catering to the Consumer, SOHO and SMB server, storage, desktop and related technology environments.

EMC on the other hand started out in the data center growing up to challenge IBMs dominance of data storage in big environments to now being the industry maker storage player for big and little data, from enterprise to cloud to desktop to server, consumer to data center. EMC also was partnered with Dell who competes directly with Lenovo until that relationship ended a few years ago. EMC for its part has been on a growth and expansion strategy adding technologies, companies, DNA and ability along with staff in the desktop, server and other spaces from a data, information and storage perspective not to mention VMware (virtualization and cloud), RSA (security) among others such as Mozy for cloud backup. EMC is also using more servers in its solutions ranging from Iomega based NAS to VNX unified storage systems, Greenplum big data to Centera archiving, ATMOS and various data protection solutions among other products.

StorageIO industry trends and perspectives

Note that this is an industry wide trend of leveraging Intel Architecture (IA) along with AMD, Broadcom, and IBM Power among other general-purpose processors and servers as platforms for running storage and data applications or appliances.

Overall, I think that this is a good move for both EMC and Lenovo to expand their reach into different adjacent markets leveraging and complimenting each other strengths.

Ok, lets see who is involved in the next IT summer relationship, nuff said for now.

Cheers Gs

Greg Schulz – Author Cloud and Virtual Data Storage Networking (CRC Press, 2011), The Green and Virtual Data Center (CRC Press, 2009), and Resilient Storage Networks (Elsevier, 2004)

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