EMC and Microsoft – Friend or Foe?

You may think that EMC and Microsoft are bitter competitors, and you may be right because in some areas they do fiercely compete. But more often than not, the two companies work together to solve customer problems with joint solutions from both sides. Even with competing products, overlapping functionality, and differences in approach, it is the customer who ultimately drives the decision. That decision is rarely a one sided architecture. Most often we see a blend of technologies from both EMC and Microsoft that come together to solve business issues and initiatives.


Microsoft has competitive technologies, guidance, and solutions in several areas. EMC has a different set of direction and federation partners.

Such examples are:

  1. Windows Azure public cloud services – These services compete directly against VMware vCHS public cloud services.
  • Microsoft’s Azure started off as PaaS (Platform as a Service) with providing custom .NET application hosting and SQL database service. Azure then added many more IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service) services to their offering. These are such as: Virtual Machine hosting, Backup, AD, Storage, Web sites, and a Service Bus. Azure is making inroads into bridging on premise with public cloud, but the transition is yet seamless.
  • VMware’s vCHS (vCloud Hybrid Services) is primarily a IaaS service providing seamless transition from on premise to public cloud. VMware is slowly adding PaaS service for custom application hosting.
  • VMware also offers the customer the choice of service providers, whereas Microsoft only offers Azure through their own hosting facility.
  1. Microsoft has virtualization technologies that are based on Windows Server, Hyper-V and System Center. These technologies compete directly against our federation story and solutions with VMware.
  2. Microsoft is advising customers to steer away from SANs and intelligent arrays, and towards DAS (Direct Attached Storage). This guidance is based on the fact that Microsoft has added high availability into their applications (Exchange and SQL) and intelligent storage services into their software (Storage Spaces and ReFS).

Microsoft however is hedging its bets by providing technology into their software that will leverage and take advantage of shared intelligent storage.

  1. ODX (Offloaded Data Transfer) – This provides the offloading of storage functions to array and takes the load off of the server.
  2. SMB 3.0 – This provides a robust file transfers protocol for CIFS and allows for critical workloads to leverage NAS.


EMC and Microsoft have a long standing and mutually beneficial relationship. This relationship is formalized as EMC being a Microsoft “Global Alliance Partner”. Together EMC and Microsoft provide Industry leadership in cloud computing and IT Transformation.

There are several areas that show the commitment to this partnership:

  1. EMC has engineers and hardware in lab at Microsoft’s headquarters in Redmond, WA. In addition, EMC has hardware and staff at the Microsoft Technology Centers (MTC) located in various cities across the US and globally. The MTC’s are used in customer engagements for Envisioning, Architectural Design, and POC’s
  2. EMC and Microsoft have a Cooperative Support Agreement that facilitates technical support between the companies on behalf of the customer. The customer will need to open a service ticket with both tech support organizations, and then the two companies will work together to resolve the customer’s issues.
  3. EMC actively integrates Microsoft technologies into EMC technologies, and typically releases the solutions first to market. EMC has over 300 published technical solutions and another 100 data sheets on Microsoft technologies.
  4. EMC offers VSPEX Proven Infrastructures for the Microsoft stack, including: Virtualized Exchange, Virtualized SQL, Virtualized SharePoint, and Microsoft Private Cloud (converged infrastructure for Hyper-V and System Center).
  5. EMC Consulting has a very large global consulting practice for Microsoft technologies.
  6. EMC has created a Microsoft centric community site that is open to partners and customers. This site contains whitepapers, EMC Proven Solutions for Microsoft, videos, case studies, and open discussion threads on EMC/Microsoft solutions (www.emc.com/everythingmicrosoft).


As a Microsoft Certified Partner (with 16 competencies and a 21-time Partner of the Year winner), EMC offers our joint customers expertise and technologies to confidently integrate their Microsoft applications with EMC solutions. EMC and Microsoft have programs and solutions that can accelerate customers to transform their IT to private clouds, and provide IT as a Service. EMC is committed to the Microsoft platform and ecosystem, and actively continues to add value by added functionality, solutions, and leadership.

Even though the two companies compete in several areas, every customer of EMC has Microsoft in their environments to some degree. It is imperative that we talk to our customers about their Microsoft applications and communicate EMC’s value for Microsoft.


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