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Alternatives: Storage

Seagate, already a big name in storage, is getting even bigger. And so are some of its cohorts. But it was EMC that took the top spot in our VARBusiness Alternatives Survey, with 31 percent of respondents citing it as the market leader.

Seagate, already a big name in storage, is getting even bigger. And so are some of its cohorts. But it was EMC that took the top spot in our VARBusiness Alternatives Survey, with 31 percent of respondents citing it as the market leader.

Still, other vendors--many of whose product lineups consist primarily of disk drives vs. end-to-end storage systems like EMC's--fared well in the survey, too.

Seagate, which recently announced plans to acquire archrival Maxtor, was cited by 11 percent of surveyed VARs as the head honcho of storage. Of course, supply-chain economics dictate that Seagate's pending purchase of Maxtor likely means that some VARs and OEMs will hitch their wagons to a new disk-drive supplier. When one player eats another, the remaining vendors get some crumbs thrown their way.

But Dan Schwab, vice president of marketing at D&H Distributing, isn't especially concerned about the impact the acquisition could have on channel pricing or inventory.

"Other partners such as Western Digital are also strong," he says. "We're used to seeing industries consolidate as they mature. It benefits the channel over time because you have increased efficiency and cleaner programs, which drives down pricing and expands the market."

Indeed, sources close to Fujitsu, Hitachi Global Storage Technology and Western Digital say they see the Maxtor buyout as an opportunity to get a slice of the market pie.

"All those mergers create opportunities, and we're looking at some of [them]," says John Best, chief technologist at Hitachi GST, which knows a thing or two about acquisitions and the effect they can have on market share. Three years ago, the vendor acquired IBM's disk-manufacturing business and took the road to consolidation.

Now it appears that the storage space will be divvied up again, for the first time in several years. And a bevy of new products from the space's players means there should be plenty of profit to go around.

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