3Par buyout puts Dell in ring against IBM, HP -- even partner EMC

Dell now looks to compete with HP and IBM as an end-to-end player

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"We're seeing an increasing demand for a new class of storage -- a class that allows storage ... as a utility. As a result of that, we think 3Par is a fantastic addition to the Dell lineup," he said.

Anderson listed Dell's acquisition of iSCSI storage company EqualLogic two years ago, its buyout of NAS provider Exanet in February and the purchase of data compression vendor Ocarina Networks last month as part of Dell's strategy to provide best-in-class storage products across all marketplaces.

"3Par, like EqualLogic, is a peer-scaling architecture ... which is absolutely critical to our customer's needs. It is the utility storage solution chosen by seven of the top 10 revenue-generating managed service providers," Anderson said. "Additionally, 3Par is perfectly aligned with Dell's strategy of open, capable and affordable solutions that really [address] a customer's storage requirements but more importantly total cost of ownership."

Anderson said that as a result of 3Par's efficient technology architecture, which includes thin provisioning and data compression algorithms, its storage arrays have the ability to lower administration and management costs by as much as 90% and to reduce capacity, power, cooling and floor space as much as 75%, he added.

3Par CEO David Scott said the company has 600 employees and more than 6,000 customers. Once it is acquired by Dell, he said, his company will have "massive reach" into new worldwide markets via Dell's channel sales operations, and it will be able to cut prices through its supply chain. Once the deal is closed, 3Par will remain a separate company under Dell, with Scott staying on as CEO.

"Given the significant use of industry standard components within 3Par's offering, we believe there will be significant opportunities for improving our cost competitiveness," he said.

Scott said 3Par already had a partnership with Exanet and supported it as a NAS gateway, meaning it could serve up data in file or block form. "We have a number of joint existing customers," he said. "The opportunities for a leading unified storage combined NAS and SAN offering, represent a great future potential."

Scott also pointed to Dell's purchase of Ocarina, saying its data de-duplication and compression technology is complementary to 3Par's thin provisioning technology. "Together, Dell and 3Par will be well positioned to become a new storage industry powerhouse. Other vendors in the storage industry will be in danger of being left flat-footed with tired product lines and few options."

Darren Thomas, Dell's general manager of enterprise storage, said his company will eventually integrate 3Par's thin-provisioning technology into other products.

"We think there's going to be a fantastic opportunity long term to drive a unified Dell storage lineup." he said. "You're going to see technology from 3Par and others, including Ocarina, that we're going to want to drive across our entire storage lineup."

Lucas Mearian covers storage, disaster recovery and business continuity, financial services infrastructure and health care IT for Computerworld. Follow Lucas on Twitter at @lucasmearian, or subscribe to Lucas's RSS feed . His e-mail address is lmearian@computerworld.com.

Copyright © 2010 IDG Communications, Inc.

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