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CommVault, an Oceanport, N.J.-based provider of data protection, recovery, and dedupe software, is often mentioned as a potential acquisition target. While CommVault would bring Dell a world-class storage software offering, and would probably be a good acquisition, it would not bring Dell the enterprise storage hardware it needs to get into the converged infrastructure business.
Gonzalez said that, absent buying the Hitachi storage business, he would stick with EMC at the high end and continue with its EqualLogic line in the faster-growing entry-level and midrange storage market, and then go and acquire CommVault.
"(CommVault has) a great product," he said. "It’s a high margin business. Dell already sells it, so they have the go to market model down for it. It’s a complex solution sale so it drives services. If I were Dell, that’s the next acquisition that I would try and make."
Other solution providers suggested Dell would be better off working with another storage vendor.
With HP's acquisition of 3PAR, its importance to HP, which currently OEM's Hitachi enterprise-class arrays, is diminished, creating an opening for Dell to step in with its own OEM deal.
Or, as another solution provider suggested, Dell may prefer to OEM some new storage products from Hitachi Data Solutions (HDS). HDS has a whole new line of high-end storage and stack coming out which is technically better than anything in enterprise storage when it gets released," said the solution provider, who requested anonymity.
Other options open to Dell are less optimistic for the future.
Shepard said Dell could carry other storage vendor lines and become a less strategic vendor similar to CDW.
Or Dell could try to repair its strained EMC relationship. "But this will be hard to do given Dell's bold move to acquire 3PAR to break free of EMC," he said.