EMC said the move would make it easier for customers to store and retrieve their unstructured data through an integrated software and hardware package.
EMC will now be able to match its line of storage systems and software products in-house with Documentum content management applications that rely heavily on storage capabilities.
"It looks like a very sensible combination," said Peter O'Kelly, an analyst at the Patricia Seybold Group. For customers, an increasing problem has been organizing, finding and using company information. For many companies, those problems will be easier to fix using a single-source supplier.
"This significantly changes the competitive landscape for enterprise content management," he added.
Robert Markham, an analyst at Forrester Research, said the deal is evidence that "enterprise content management and storage need to be thought of in the same breath".
The deal was an offensive move by EMC into the enterprise content management market and a defensive move against competitors such as Oracle.
"This has put Oracle further behind, because Oracle would have probably bought Documentum if EMC didn't," he said.
However, one hurdle remains for EMC. The company still does not offer its own database with its storage and Documentum products, he added.
Mark Lewis, vice-president of EMC's open software operations, said the deal extends his company's goal of helping customers manage data throughout its life cycle.
The Documentum line of products will continue to be sold to customers regardless of their storage system choices, and the interfaces will continue to be open across the standard interface layers to maintain compatibility with competing products.
"Our objective is to sell value-added layers not to lock those layers together so the customer has no choice," Lewis said.
Documentum and EMC have had a partnership deal since April 2002, when EMC introduced EMC Centera, a content-addressed storage product.
Todd R Weiss writes for Computerworld