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History 2004: EMC in Tape with ADIC

And why not with StorageTek?

EMC, and especially its former CEO, Mike Ruettgers, succeeded by Joe Tucci in 2001, hated tape. And he wasn’t the only one. But he never said that tape was dead, only that the market was too small to be of great interest to him, and that in the long term, they would be restricted to archiving rather than backup. Again, he wasn’t the only one to hold this view.

In fact, those who follow his logic are more and more prevalent. But, since archiving is such a crucial component of ILM, EMC has found itself more or less obliged to get involved. The storage leader already resold Quantum’s tape libraries. Now that it has entered into a formal agreement with ADIC, things are serious, even if it isn’t an OEM agreement. EMC will resell ADIC libraries with LTO tape drive technology. At the same time, ADIC will resell EMC Clariion CX disk arrays as part of its Pathlight VX virtual tape solution.

The deal may not be satisfactory for Overland, Quantum, Hewlett-Packard or IBM, but think about StorageTek, which is doing the best it can by maintaining that EMC’s arrival in the tape market vindicates its own ideas about the future of tape technology, and that since ADIC has no presence in enterprise libraries, customers will have to reach out to StorageTek.

It is true that ADIC has no major customer at the high end, but that’s truer in USA than in Europe, where after its acquisition of Grau in 1995, the company pursued its line of large automation products, currently the AML/2 that holds up to 5PB and 400 drives, which are capable of mixing a variety of media (Betacam, VHS, DST, optical discs, 8mm, 3480/90/3590, 9840, SD-3 Redwood, DLT/SDLT, LTO, 8mm).

However, the EMC agreement only concerns LTO-based Scalar 24, Scalar 100, Scalar i2000 and Scalar 10K models, with, it’s true, up to 84 drives and 3,945 cartridge positions.

Scalar i2000
Adic Scalar I2000

In StorageTek’s favor, all the same, its high-end tape cartridges and drives are mainframe-class products, at a different price but also on an entirely different plane than LTO technology.

So why exactly didn’t EMC prefer StorageTek, ≠# in the world for tape revenue? To our mind, it’s likely that with ADIC, it has found a certain reciprocity, with the latter agreeing to resell Clariion, which makes for a new reseller in addition to Dell.

ADIC is also present in D2D backup, like EMC, but that’s the only area in which the 2 companies compete, while StorageTek operates in the same platform as EMC at another level, with both companies claiming to be the oracle of ILM’s future.

What’s more, and this is key, it would be hard to imagine StorageTek, which competes with EMC in disk arrays, risk embarrassing itself or alienating its source, Engenio, in order to agree to distribute Clariion units.

This article is an abstract of news published on issue 199 on August 2004 from the former paper version of Computer Data  Storage Newsletter.