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Jamie Shepard, executive vice president for technology solutions at International Computerware, a Marlborough, Mass.-based solution provider, said Dell should consider thinking outside of enterprise storage and go for one or more startups with expertise in storage virtualization.
"Dell should buy a Greenbytes or Actifio to attack the virtual space with dedupe, replication, and NFS (network file system) performance, and scale to extend a customer's virtual data center," the solution provider said. "It would then simply do what other vendors are trying to simplify: attack the virtual messaging."
Among the list of usual acquisition mentions is Compellent, Eden Prairie, Minn., is a fast-growing developer of storage virtualization technology that automates the movement and management of data at a granular level to increase storage efficiency, scalability and flexibility. While Compellent considers EMC as its primary competitor, the company has yet to compete at the same level as 3PAR or EMC's VMX products.
Seattle-base Isilon provides scale-out storage, a technology in which both capacity and processing power are increased at the same time so that very large data stores can be accessed as easily as small data stores. However, Isilon is focused on serving data in the file format, which is different from the block format used in most enterprise storage platforms.
An acquisition of San Jose, Calif.-based Brocade would give Dell the enterprise-class storage and IP networking technology to strengthen its hand in the converged infrastructure market. However, Dell would still probably need an enterprise storage vendor to be a serious part of that business.
Also, because of Brocade's importance as the last major independent provider of both storage and IP networking technology, an acquisition bid by Dell could possibly start a bidding war with other Brocade partners, particularly IBM.
Next: Other Alternatives, Including Some Unpleasant Thoughts