Dell’s Intention: Acquire 3Par. Is this a Stack Play?

The Consolidated server stack has been one of the big items over the last year using converged network adapters, blades, and integrated storage that is designed around providing an a single SKU to order and that provides enough resources for a set number of VMs. Currently the VCE coalition has the VBlock which combines VMware, Cisco, and EMC products into a single stack. HP has its Matrix stack. But where is IBM’s and Dell’s stacks. Could the acquisition of 3Par be the beginning of a integrated stack play from Dell?

3Par provides several features that are missing from Dell’s current storage line-up:

  • Utility Storage
  • Storage optimized for Virtualization
  • Storage Multi-tenancy

Both of these are required to make a stack play. Easy to use and configure storage as well as easy to manage for multiple-tenants is a requirement going forward. Combined with Dell’s Blades and other storage combinations, we could see the emergence of the Dell Stack.

Dell combines many components already, including some from EMC, however, if Dell is to produce a stack it should not include EMC as that is part of another stack and could impact both. Perhaps EMC would sell to either (VCE or Dell) customers like they do now. But having a Stack that does not use EMC storage would be a fairly interesting win.

It would also be interesting if Dell built a lower end stack, one that usable by small business with the growth to meet the medium and large enterprises. Dell could use 3Par to easily grow the storage along those lines by combining other arrays within a single 3Par virtual storage device.

If this is a stack play, will they aim for VMware, Hyper-V, or Xen/KVM as the virtualization player or remain vendor neutral? They do state that they are acquiring 3Par for Virtualization optimized storage, which really makes me think this is a stack play as well as an investment.

Visit http://content.dell.com/us/en/corp/d/secure/2010-08-16-ir-release.aspx for the full announcement.

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Edward Haletky
Edward L. Haletky aka Texiwill is an analyst, author, architect, technologist, and out of the box thinker. As an analyst, Edward looks at all things IoT, Big Data, Cloud, Security, and DevOps. As an architect, Edward creates peer-reviewed reference architectures for hybrid cloud, cloud native applications, and many other aspects of the modern business. As an author he has written about virtualization and security. As a technologist, Edward creates code prototypes for parts of those architectures. Edward is solving today's problems in an implementable fashion.
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1 Comment on "Dell’s Intention: Acquire 3Par. Is this a Stack Play?"

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Mike Norman
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Ed, It is certainly a departure for Dell, but one that makes sense. The storage layer has historically been a higher-margin sale than the commodity server, and Dell has incentivised its salesmen to sell a lot of EMC hardware over the years. Ultimately it makes sense to pull in that higher-margin revenue directly. Also, as Dell re-orients itself around services, it makes sense to have a consolidated services offering around storage. On the question of the Hypervisor, in my dealings with Dell they were always open to a broad range of possibilities in building solutions, and took an interest in… Read more »
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