Despite a heated rivalry in the virtualisation market between EMC-owned VMware and Microsoft, the partnership is a mutually beneficial one that should deliver real results to customers, according to Pund-IT analyst Charles King.
"Both companies are developing centralised datacentre and information management solutions, a critical value proposition for client organisations struggling with ever-expanding information assets and ever-increasing IT infrastructure complexity," said King.
"Perhaps more importantly, the two are also following paths that have led them far beyond their traditional areas of interest and expertise. Such a similarity of evolutionary intent can occasionally, as in the case of EMC and Microsoft, result in competitive and cultural overlaps that are beneficial for customers."
EMC and Microsoft extended their partnership through 2011, and company CEOs Joe Tucci and Steve Ballmer shared the stage at an event in New York City announcing the deal.
"The two companies are committing to broader and deeper product interoperability and service delivery to address key customer requirements including virtualisation, security and content management," the companies stated in a press release.
The main pieces are Microsoft's datacentre products and productivity applications and EMC's storage technology and consulting.
For example, the companies said EMC's technology is ideal for storage, protection and management of information in Datacentres that rely on Microsoft's Hyper-V virtualisation technology. Also, EMC's Documentum content management software can be linked to Microsoft applications such as SharePoint, Outlook and SQL Server.
Going forward, EMC plans to build products that leverage and extend the capabilities of Microsoft Office SharePoint, letting customers use Microsoft interfaces to access business processes and workflows relying upon content stored and protected by EMC.
Also, Microsoft will expand integration of EMC's RSA data-loss prevention technology (DLP) into its own products to improve monitoring of sensitive data and to block unauthorised use, the companies said. (Compare Data Leak Protection products) Already, the RSA DLP Suite 6.5 has been designed for interoperability with Microsoft Active Directory Rights Management Services.
In addition to technology benefits, King says the extension of the partnership shows customers that the companies are still willing to cooperate despite competing aggressively in areas such as server virtualisation. "At a time of increasing economic uncertainty, the last thing enterprises need is to worry about their favoured vendors coming, figuratively, to blows," King writes.