Lenovo and EMC have announced a partnership involving servers and networking to give EMC greater access to the Chinese market, while Lenovo will gain expertise to benefit in the enterprise x86 server segment.
The two firms are also set to collaborate on network-attached storage (NAS) targeting small-to-medium business (SMB) customers.
Announced on Wednesday, the partnership will involve Lenovo, one of the largest PC vendors in the world, collaborating with EMC on the development of x86 server technology to help it expand from its stronghold in PCs, laptops and entry-level servers, into the broader server market.
The deal, which is subject to regulatory approval but is expected to be finalised by the end of 2012, will also see Lenovo acting as reseller for EMC's networked storage hardware in China, a relationship that could be extended globally in the future.
Vincent Fauquenot, vice president of products and channels for Lenovo in EMEA, told V3 that the partnership will significantly enhance the company's capabilities in the enterprise market, enabling it to compete better with the likes of HP and Dell.
"On the technical side we are going to work very closely with the EMC team to accelerate the development of advanced new server offerings leveraging the skills that EMC has on that side to expand the range of products available," he said.
The x86 server platform which results from the collaboration will be branded and marketed by Lenovo, but will also be used by EMC as the basis for some of its storage hardware, Fauquenot said.
At the moment, the two firms are not disclosing any details or potential specifications, with Lenovo declining to say whether its servers would be based on Intel's Xeon platform or AMD's Opteron chips, or possibly both.
"We want to go after strong growth in the server market and to do so you need a diversified offering that covers all the various segments, but we are not making any announcements at this time," Fauquenot added.
Finally, the two firms are also starting up a joint venture that will market Network Attached Storage (NAS) appliances into the SMB market, which will be based on the existing product line of Iomega, which was acquired by EMC back in 2008.
"The portfolio of NAS products from Iomega forms the base of our offering. How we are going to brand them in the future is something we are working on as we finalise the details," Fauquenot explained.
The new partnership could also be seen as a replacement for the long-standing collaboration EMC enjoyed with Dell, under which the latter acted as reseller for EMC storage hardware alongside its own servers.
Dell and EMC went their own ways at the end of last year, as Dell began to ramp up its own storage portfolio.
In a statement, an EMC spokesperson told V3 that the interests of both itself and Lenovo were well aligned.
"Lenovo shares EMC's focus on channel partnerships as a route to market and, crucially, does not own a pre-existing storage portfolio that would have to be reconciled with EMC's," the spokesperson said.
Daniel Robinson is technology editor at V3, and has been working as a technology journalist for over two decades. Dan has served on a number of publications including PC Direct and enterprise news publication IT Week. Areas of coverage include desktops, laptops, smartphones, enterprise mobility, storage, networks, servers, microprocessors, virtualisation and cloud computing.