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Concerns about the future of Dell and its storage business in the wake of its failed bid against HP for the acquisition of 3PAR may be premature, as Dell still has plenty of potential moves that could make it a player in the converged networking game.
On that list of next moves are several possible acquisitions that could make Dell a contender in the enterprise storage market. Dell could also do a reseller deal or OEM deal with another storage vendor. It could also start acquiring virtual storage startups that would give it a leg up in that part of the business.
Dell is at a crossroads. Dell's primary business today is in industry-standard servers and PCs at a time when its primary server competitors, HP and IBM, are looking for ways to combine servers, storage, and networking resources into a combined offering.
That combined offering, called converged infrastructure, brings those resources together into a single architecture with unified management.
HP and IBM, along with Cisco, which has its own nascent blade server offering, are building a converged infrastructure offering as a way to help customers more easily adopt cloud computing and, along the way, lock out offerings from competing vendors.
While Dell has a solid midrange storage technology and business thanks to its 2008 acquisition of EqualLogic, the company also partners with EMC in midrange storage and depends on EMC for the relatively small amount of business it does in the enterprise storage market.
However, by bidding up to nearly $2.3 billion for 3PAR, Dell sent a signal to EMC that it is looking for an alternative for building its enterprise storage business.
Now that HP is getting 3PAR, Dell can use that $2.3 billion to start shopping for other vendors.
Several possibilities come to mind.
Next: Not The Usual List Of Suspects