The bidding war between Dell and HP over storage vendor 3Par may come as a surprise to the casual observer. After all, we've seen plenty of acquisitions in the storage space of late, none of which have featured high-profile head butting among tech powerhouses.
This is more than just a contest for a relatively young company with an impressive line of storage technologies, though. The winner -- almost certain to be the deeper-pocketed HP -- will come away with a far more robust cloud-ready portfolio to compete with the likes of Oracle, IBM, and EMC, all of whom have a head start with technologies groomed for handling massive quantities of data.
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First, a recap of recent storage acquisitions: IBM this year scooped up data-compression specialist Storwize and deduplication purveyor Diligent Technologies. Dell grabbed Ocarina Networks, also a maker of dedupe technology (not to mention a partner of HP). EMC picked up Greenplum, a data warehousing and analytics specialist. NetApp consumed Bycast to improve its object-based storage capabilities. There are plenty of others. Meanwhile, vendors such as Oracle have rolled out their own enterprise-oriented data-warehousing offerings.
HP, meanwhile, has been pretty quiet in the storage arena -- perhaps too quiet for its own liking or that of its enterprise customers. Grabbing 3Par would demonstrate its determination to remain a go-to company to accommodate large-scale customers' every computing need.
Dell, for its part, is clearly struggling to shed its reputation as a provider of consumer and SMB technology. Acquiring 3Par would certainly be a feather in the enterprise cap it's earnestly working to don.
Once the dust clears, though, expect HP to come out on top. The company has the cash to pick up 3Par, and it's ravenous for storage goodness that 3Par is serving. HP is ready to pay whatever it takes to grab 3Par, a price that may be worth maintaining its standing among the enterprise crowd, as well as a means of blocking Dell's ascension to being a true enterprise competitor.