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Among the potential Dell acquisitions most often mentioned by industry watchers are Compellent, Isilon, CommVault, and Brocade. However, none of these completely address the issue of how to get Dell into the enterprise storage business.
Solution providers who partner with and closely follow Dell, HP, and/or EMC also have a list of potential acquisitions for Dell which are not on the industry radar, including Xiotech, Hitachi, or one or more storage virtualization startups.
Storage arrays from Xiotech, an Eden Prairie, Minn.-based developer of enterprise-class storage technology, do not serve the same level of customers that high-end EMC arrays do.
However, such an acquisition would give Dell access to that company's ISE technology, which are self-contained storage modules which include up to 8 TBs of capacity, dual controllers, cache, dual power and cooling units, and dual battery modules in a single package.
Xiotech would also bring Dell two of the storage industry's smartest people, CTO Stephen Sicola and Corporate Fellow Richard Lary. Sicola and Lary both worked with some of Dell's top storage execs years ago at Compaq.
An acquisition of Hitachi's storage business, on the other hand, would give Dell instant credibility in the enterprise storage market.
Mark Gonzalez, president of Nth Generation Computing, a San Diego-based solution provider, said that there are few independent high end offerings that are as viable as 3Par was for the price.
"With HP acquiring 3PAR, and thus over time fewer Hitachi arrays being sold by HP, and with (Oracle) discontinuing its relationship with HDS (Hitachi Data Systems), maybe Hitachi would be willing to sell its storage business to Dell," Gonzalez said. "That would give them a heck of a product both in the mid-range and the high end. If Dell did that, they’d totally be able to sever their relationship with EMC and have all of the storage assets in house."
Next: Thinking Outside The Box, And Inside The Box