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EMC, IBM Swallow Their Pride

At long last, the stiff-necked standoff between EMC Corp. (NYSE: EMC) and IBM Corp. (NYSE: IBM) on storage management is over, as the two vendors have agreed to exchange programming interfaces to let each other's products interoperate (see EMC, IBM Extend Interoperability).

A deal between EMC and IBM to swap APIs was rumored to be in the works for quite some time (see EMC, IBM Are Talking Swap). The companies would not disclose how long they had been in negotiations.

So what finally turned the tide? Both vendors claim they came to the epiphany that customers would benefit if they worked together. "There's been kind of a cloud over the EMC/IBM relationship," says Chuck Hollis, VP of platforms marketing for EMC. [Ed. note: It was more like a brick wall between them.] "The customers we've previewed this to have more confidence about where we're headed."

But while the deal promises to help mutual customers of EMC and IBM, it's not clear when this arrangement will bear fruit. EMC says it will put out a revised roadmap in the first quarter of 2004 that indicates when its products will natively support IBM's.

As part of the agreement, EMC and IBM have agreed to exchange application programming interfaces (APIs) for their disk storage products, including interfaces that conform to the Storage Networking Industry Association (SNIA)'s Storage Management Initiative Specification (SMI-S). Hollis says the APIs that EMC and IBM are exchanging "go beyond what SMI addresses today."

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