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Commvault and Cisco just announced a technology partnership that will enable Cisco partners to resell Commvault software that’s aimed at secondary storage applications running on top of the Cisco Unified Computing System (UCS) platform.

Brian Allison, vice president of worldwide alliances at Commvault, said the Cisco alliance marks the second major OEM alliance that Commvault has struck since making a similar agreement with Fujitsu. The deal with Cisco is strategically significant to Commvault because it significantly expands the base of partners that can resell its software.

Cisco UCS platforms defined a converged infrastructure platform that is replacing legacy rack-based systems. As part of that effort, Cisco has already established storage relationships with NetApp and Dell EMC, but Allison said those relationships are focused mainly on primary storage. The opportunity to sell Commvault HyperScale software to manage secondary storage on the Cisco UCS platform is significant, he said.

Technology partnerships are often challenging for channel partners to navigate. Commvault partners already attach secondary storage to multiple platforms, including Cisco UCS. In theory, there will soon be a lot more Cisco partners competing for that same business.

But the number of Commvault partners that can address the Cisco UCS opportunity as a percentage of the total number of storage solution providers is relatively small. Commvault needs to find a more efficient way to address that opportunity via the channel.

Less clear is to what degree converged infrastructure platforms are being usurped by hyperconverged infrastructure (HCI) platforms, which combine compute and storage in a single platform. There are certainly application use cases that can only be addressed by converged infrastructure that comes in the form of a rack. But HCI appliances are now scaling to the point where they can address a much broader set of applications.

Regardless of the rise of HCI, there is still a large base of Cisco UCS platforms installed that will be generating massive amounts of data for years to come.