Datalink Plans To Acquire Incentra's Reseller Business

Storage solution provider Datalink engaged in its second acquisition of a fellow solution provider in as many weeks with the signing of an agreement to acquire the reseller business of Incentra.

The acquisition, once it closes, gives Chanhassen, Minn.-based Datalink the opportunity to grow its existing storage business, its Microsoft and Cisco relationships, and possibly a server business via Incentra's Sun Microsystems relationship, said Datalink CTO Scott Robinson.

Incentra had fallen on hard times and was at one point in bankruptcy until its assets were acquired by Laurus Funds in May. Datalink plans to acquire its reseller business, which will take Incentra back to its managed service provider roots.

The acquisition comes just days after Datalink acquired the Cisco-centric networking business of Bloomington, Minn.-based Cross Telecom for $2 million in a bid to prepare for the industry move toward data center virtualization and the convergence of storage and IP networks.

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The acquisition of Incentra's reseller business will expand Datalink's existing capabilities and geographic presence, Robinson said.

The business will make Datalink a bigger storage partner of companies such as Symantec, NetApp, Hitachi Data Systems, Sun and Data Domain and help expand its first-call support with those companies as well, he said.

It will also dramatically expand Datalink's presence in the West, the Northeast, and the Chicago and Indianapolis areas. "We're already big in Chicago," Robinson said. "But it's a big market. We've just scratched the surface."

Incentra's reseller business will also bring Datalink expanded relationships with Microsoft and Cisco, Robinson said.

Datalink currently does not have a major Microsoft relationship. However, Incentra is a Microsoft Gold partner, and the relationship will transfer once the acquisition closes, Robinson said.

Datalink's acquisition of Cross Telecom's networking business has resulted in a Cisco Silver level relationship. However, Incentra has a Cisco Gold level relationship, a relationship Datalink expects it will eventually achieve.

Incentra became one of the largest Sun solution providers in the nation with a string of acquisitions of Sun partners. They include the acquisition of Helio Solution in August 2007 and the acquisition of SSI a month later.

Datalink already has a $10 million-plus relationship with Sun on the storage side, and Incentra brings the company a large Sun server business and expertise as well.

"That server expertise is something we need to look at," Robinson said. "There's a server component to a lot of our customers' virtualization activities, so we need to look at it. We've been selling some Sun servers, but it has not been a core focus for us."

Datalink declined to discuss how much it plans to pay for Incentra's reseller business. That business currently has about 150 people, but Robinson declined to estimate how many would come with the acquisition.