Storage giant EMC has bought document management vendor Documentum for $1.7bn to integrate its existing hardware with its newly acquired software.
EMC said by incorporating its hardware with Documentum's content management software, customers will be able to better manage unstructured content "from creation and use to archive and disposal".
Documentum's products are expected to fit with the information lifecycle management technology EMC acquired earlier this year with its purchase of Legato.
Both suites can be coupled with EMC hardware, and Documentum products have already been bundled with EMC's Centera, an ATA-based array that targets the market for fixed content.
EMC said in a statement: "Software is central to our strategy of delivering comprehensive information lifecycle management solutions that allow customers to select the appropriate levels of availability, protection and speed of access at every point in the information lifecycle."
However, Alan Pelz-Sharpe, US vice-president of analyst Ovum, indicated that the announcement had come as something of a surprise.
"An acquisition of Documentum is not in itself a surprise, as strong rumours have circulated the market regarding its impending purchase, but the most likely suitor had appeared to be Oracle," he said.
"EMC has no history of content or document management. It is hoped that Documentum will continue largely as a subsidiary rather than be merged into the whole of EMC."
As with Legato, EMC wants to keep Documentum at arm's length in order for its software to maintain its hardware-independent status and remain available for use on other vendors' kit.
"Documentum's sales, marketing and services will remain focused on selling and servicing Documentum's products and solutions," EMC said.
Graeme Rose, marketing manager at EMC reseller Posetiv, thinks EMC's move will create opportunities for the channel. "Document management often drives the need for a new storage infrastructure, so it makes sense to match them together," he said.
Rose added that resellers must understand document management systems if they are to sell storage successfully.
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