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Rhonda Gass, VP of Storage Systems Development, Dell

It's been just over one year since Dell Computer Corp. (Nasdaq: DELL) hitched its storage wagon to EMC Corp.'s (NYSE: EMC) star, with a five-year distribution deal (see EMC and Dell Double-Down and Dell and EMC Do a Deal).

In that time, the two companies have tag-teamed to win 1,500 new storage customers. And the Dell partnership in part – helped EMC funnel in an unexpected $200 million in extra sales for the fourth quarter of 2002. Not bad, dudes! (See EMC Shares Surge and Dell Plugs Cox Into EMC.)

Rhonda Gass (a chatty lass), in Dell's storage systems development group, says Dell sees no reason to change course anytime soon. In fact, she must have told us at least four times how "satisfied" Dell is with the EMC partnership. The deal may also someday extend to EMC's NAS systems to augment Dell's own Microsoft-based NAS offerings.

But Dell isn't putting its entire storage future in the hands of the Good Ship Hopkinton. One of its undercover development projects revolves around iSCSI, an IP-based technology that promises to deliver the benefit of SANs without the cost and complexity of Fibre Channel. In other words, it's right up the alley of Dell's target market: small and midsized enterprises.

So far, iSCSI has failed to materialize in real products. As overall IT spending continues to languish into 2003, so will new technologies like iSCSI. But Gass is still upbeat on the promise of IP storage and says Dell is currently scoping out specific requirements for this market. (For more on this topic, see our report, iSCSI's Big Bang?.)

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