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CommVault, which gets up to 26 percent of its revenue from its reseller relationship with Dell, provides data deduplication technology tied to a complete suite of data protection software.
Greg Knieriemen, vice president of marketing at Chi Corp., a Cleveland-based storage solution provider, said there is a lot of speculation that Dell is interested in acquiring CommVault, but not always for the right reason.
Many analysts and channel watchers assume Dell might be interested in CommVault for its deduplication technology, Knieriemen said.
This perception stems from the focus on dedupe technology in the battle between EMC and NetApp over Data Domain, as well as from the recent introduction of a new dedupe appliance based on Dell hardware and CommVault software.
However, Knieriemen said, while dedupe technology from companies such as Data Domain and FalconStor work with any data-protection software, CommVault's dedupe technology only works with CommVault's Simpana software.
"With CommVault, you have to change the backup software to use its dedupe," he said. "That's not an easy thing to do. And while Dell's new CommVault bundle is creating a lot of buzz, to use it you need to implement CommVault for the backup."
A Dell acquisition of CommVault would carry some risk for both vendors, Knieriemen said.
Dell's close relationship with Symantec probably would suffer as a result. Another big CommVault partner, CDW, probably would end its CommVault relationship if such an acquisition occurred, based on CDW's cutting of its EqualLogic relationship after Dell bought that storage vendor, Knieriemen said.
"There are a lot of crazy things out there," he said. "Look at EMC and Data Domain, and how it would affect [EMC dedupe partner] Quantum. Or Cisco, which before its Unified Computing System [UCS] had a great relationship with HP, and now they're competitors. These kinds of relationships are breaking down."
Eryck Bredy, president of BNMC, an Andover, Mass.-based solution provider and Dell partner, called CommVault a good potential buy for Dell, which needs a strong software offering if it wants to keep up with other storage vendors. "But Dell and Symantec have such a good relationship," Bredy said.
Another solution provider, who preferred to remain anonymous, called CommVault a great acquisition target for Dell.
"CommVault is already a great fit with Dell's product line," the solution provider said.
Dell's relationship with Symantec would not be a factor in such an acquisition. "No matter who Dell buys, it will upset someone," the solution provider said. "Dell has its hands in everything."
An acquisition of CommVault would make a lot of sense, Robert W. Baird's Noland said. "It would be easy for Dell to digest and integrate," he said. "And it wouldn't anger EMC as much as if [Dell] bought a hardware company."
CommVault declined to comment for this story.
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