Channel Likes Storage-Security Synergy Of NetApp's Decru Buy

Michael Fanelli, western regional manager at SSI hubcity, Metuchen, N.J., said the $272 million acquisition makes a lot of sense, especially since customers often use NetApp's technology to replicate data across a WAN. "Often, you don't know if such data is secure or not," he said.

NetApp partner Trace3 gets about 75 percent of its revenue from customers looking to mirror data across a WAN, said Hayes Drumwright, president of the Irvine, Calif.-based solution provider. NetApp's acquisition of Decru now promises Trace3 even more sales opportunities as those customers look to boost the security of that mirrored data, he said.

"Much of our business is with Fortune 1000 companies that mirror data for disaster-recovery reasons," Drumwright said. "Being able to encrypt data across the wire is a big security benefit."

Drumwright added that his view of Decru has changed a lot since the company approached him a couple of years ago about setting up a channel relationship. "At the time, I didn't want a startup risk," he said.

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Dana Zahka, president of Select, a Westwood, Mass.-based solution provider, said her company doesn't sell Decru products but has pointed many of its NetApp customers seeking increased security toward Decru. "Decru has a solid product. It's a great move for NetApp," Zahka said.

After the acquisition deal closes, much of Decru's business likely will go through NetApp's channel, said NetApp CEO Dan Warmenhoven told CRN. "We will make it available to all our channel partners, like we do now with our storage products," he said. "One exception: We're not sure we'll do Decru with IBM in the same way as our other products. IBM already has a relationship with Decru. I'm not sure if that will be expanded."

About 20 percent of Decru's business comes from deals involving NetApp, with the remainder coming from other vendors, Warmenhoven said, adding that he hopes that situation doesn't change.

"Our goal is to maintain a degree of independence and let Decru work with others," he said. "EMC has been doing that with VMware. But there is a difference. EMC's sales force does not receive any compensation when it sells VMware. NetApp salespeople will be compensated, both for direct and channel sales, for Decru."

Despite considering the NetApp-Decru deal a strong blend of storage and security, Trace3's Drumwright said Symantec's acquisition of Veritas Software--scheduled for a shareholder vote next week--isn't as good of a match.

"With NetApp, which is a great company with a strong mirroring technology across a WAN, Decru is a significant move. There's a lot of synergy between the two," he said. "However, with Symantec and Veritas, I don't see how it benefits either company."