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Weighing In On EMC-Legato Deal

EMC's pending acquisition of Legato is getting a thumbs-up from distributors, many of which expect the market to benefit from the vendors' combined storage and content management business.

Jeff Bawol, vice president and general manager of the Enterprise Software and Storage Business Unit at Avnet Hall-Mark, Tempe, Ariz., said the acquisition validates the position his organization has taken for some time: Software drives storage.

Oracle and Veritas Software have helped drive sales of EMC and StorageTek hardware. Similarly, Legato's storage management software, as well as its e-mail and messaging archival management applications, should drive data storage on the EMC hardware platform and help the vendor and its partners sell more storage solutions, Bawol said.

The biggest channel impact will take place in the midrange space, Bawol said. "EMC has been wanting to be more of a software company. They've been waiting to be in the midmarket space, and that's our goal as well," he said. "Legato will drive the midrange for EMC [and] will drive sales of [EMC] Clariion arrays."

Acquisition moves such as those between EMC and Legato or Oracle and PeopleSoft are positive signals that the industry is getting healthier, said Mike Long, president and COO of Arrow Electronics' North American Computer Products group, Englewood, Colo.

Arrow works with both EMC and Legato, and Long hopes the acquisition will simplify the relationships. "We can then deal with one company, not two," he said. "This should lead to tech support and sales support efficiency. Resellers can now deal with one set of certifications, not two."

Scott Pelletier, storage practice manager at Denver-based Lewan & Associates, which currently works with EMC and Veritas but not Legato, said it has sometimes been difficult to bring EMC into an environment where the customer prefers to work with Legato.

"Since we're a big EMC partner, combining EMC with Legato enables us to work with Legato customers without switching them to another vendor's software," Pelletier said.

The Legato deal makes sense to EMC because software is key to the hardware vendor's longevity, said Arsenio Batoy, president of Optical Laser, a Huntington Beach, Calif.-based value-added distributor in the storage and content management space.

"Hardware will always represent the platform, information source and target to and from which data moves, but software will always represent the intelligence of the system," said Batoy.

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