HP and HPCap Gemini Ernst & Young have signed a memorandum of understanding on storage consultancy. HP is now a preferred storage supplier for CGEY, and CGEY is HP's preferred external system integrator for storage.

The deal extends a 15 year-old relationship between the two to deliver applications such as Oracle, SAP and Siebel, according to Patrick Bonelli, European VP of HP's Network Storage Solutions group.

He expects the deal to help HP win contracts with customers who prefer to work with an external SI rather than a manufacturer.

"We have found we rarely conflict in the market, so this means we are improving our market reach," he says. "For example, one area of cooperation would be CGEY leading on the business integration and HP providing the infrastructure support and services."

CGEY global product manager Claude Kuhn adds that, rather than imply that HP's own consultancy group is underpowered, the agreement reflects the fact that the storage management market is too big and fast-growing for any one company to cover on its own.

"Our chosen work areas are relatively business-agnostic," he says, noting that the partnership will focus on information lifecycle management, disaster recovery and high availability, and overall IT rationalisation and consolidation.

"CGEY brings more focused business consultancy and HP brings technical focus," he adds.