Rumor Central: EMC To Buy StorageTek?


Here's one for all you rumor watchers and conspiracy theorists out there: Word floating around the Sun Microsystems channel is, EMC is looking to buy a part of Sun's StorageTek storage business.

Here's the reasoning:

First, Sun bought StorageTek over three years ago for about $4.1 billion in an effort to shore up its weak showing in the storage market. Sun was the last major server vendor to get serious about the storage market, and pretty much let other vendors, especially EMC, come in and attach their storage to Sun servers

Second, Sun has just gone through one of its all-too-regular reorganizations, this time separating its storage sales people into disk sales reps and tape sales reps.

That's a bit of a head scratcher. Logically, a storage sales rep should be able to handle a company's storage line. That move has a number of Sun solution providers wondering what Sun was thinking about.

For some solution providers, the only reason for a vendor to separate the sales of disk-based storage from tape-based storage is to prepare to sell off one or the other.

So why EMC? EMC has one of the widest reaches of all the top storage vendors into enterprise data centers. But there's one company whose reach might even be wider: Sun, thanks to its StorageTek line.

StorageTek is the leading supplier of enterprise tape libraries, and EMC could use that reach to expand its own business in several ways.

First, EMC could tie StorageTek tape into its other businesses, including enterprise content management and security.

Second, EMC could use the StorageTek tape business to further cement its ties to enterprise customers. The best way to keep a competitor out of an account is to make sure the customer keeps buying from you, and adding tape to its line card would give EMC a better lock on their customer's data center business.

Third, for those who wonder why a disk array-based vendor like EMC would want to buy a tape business, EMC could use such an acquisition as the first step in turning part of that tape business into disk. EMC disk, of course.

No guarantees this is anything but a rumor. But who knows, it might happen before that other rumor, that Cisco might buy EMC, occurs.

Or not.