August 1, 2012 – EMC Corp. and laptop maker Lenovo have reached a development and partnership agreement on storage technology and sales that reaches for more of the increasingly data-burdened SMB sector.

EMC will bring resources from its Iomega business and technology to a development and sales venture between the two to provide network attached storage systems to SMBs and distributed enterprise implementations. The two vendors have formed a server technology department to build out Lenovo’s x86 servers, which will be embedded into “selected” EMC storage systems “over time,” according to Wednesday’s partnership announcement. The final link in the deal involves a reseller agreement that brings EMC storage solutions to China-based Lenovo’s customers, with eventual global expansion plans in line with the server business development, the release stated.

EMC Chairman and CEO Joseph Tucci stressed the importance of expanding EMC’s presence in the “vibrant” Chinese marketplace through the partnership and sales agreement. And the deal capitalizes on what Lenovo called its “aspiration to be a player” in the standard server and NAS markets, one that CEO Yuanqing Yang said in a release would give Lenovo more back-end capabilities for its laptop and PC business.

The move also sets the stage for new data management inroads into China for EMC and teams up two of HP’s biggest rivals, albeit in different marketplaces. Last month, Lenovo surpassed HP as the world’s biggest PC maker, according to Reuters. EMC has rivaled HP in the storage space for years, with the two most recently trading public data deduplication record claims.

Rival vendors aside, there is a need for new storage options at SMBs, says AberdeenGroup virtualization and storage Senior Research Analyst Dick Csaplar. Csaplar says Aberdeen findings peg SMB storage volumes increasing at about 30 percent annually. EMC sharing Iomega NAS technology with Lenovo shows particular promise for both vendors to address this hyper data storage requirement growth.

“The SMB storage market is underserved and needs sophisticated storage capabilities such as deduplication and tiering,” Csaplar says. “If they can’t get these sorts of tools, SMB storage costs will double every two years.”

The deal includes cash contributed by Lenovo to compliment EMC’s Iomega contributions, and Lenovo will hold a majority interest in the new partnership.