Dell and EMC team up on low-end storage

Dell is hoping to bring enterprise storage technology to the small business market by reselling EMC's new storage area network product, which is priced at less than $10,000

Dell has developed a Storage Area Network (SAN) product with its storage partner EMC that is targeted at small businesses, the company announced at a press conference in London on Wednesday.

Dell is EMC's largest customer, making up around one-third of the company's revenues. The companies forged a partnership almost three years ago and reaffirmed their commitment to each other last year when they announced they will be working together for at least another five years.

The Dell/EMC AX100 is EMC's first venture into the small business market. Until now the company had concentrated on the lucrative high-end market where SAN solutions start at the $20,000 mark. Both companies hope the AX100, which costs less than $10,000, will persuade smaller companies that had previously relied on Network Attached Storage devices to enjoy the benefits of a full SAN. EMC launched the product in the US yesterday.

Kevin Rollins, president and chief operating officer at Dell, said was a huge opportunity in the small business market if a company could produce a SAN product that was low cost and didn't require a complicated configuration process.

"We believe this market is ripe when two barriers are crossed -- cost and complexity. This is the first ever complete SAN for less than $10,000 that customers can support themselves," Rollins said.

EMC chief executive Joe Tucci said that this was the company's first move into the small business market and admitted that although EMC has been making storage products for many years, it took Dell's help to create a device that was friendly enough for the smaller business.

"We didn't focus on ease of use as much as we probably should have done. This is where Dell helped," Tucci said.