The Station keeps hearing rumors that IBM--which desperately needs to add some second-generation storage and data recovery software to replace its own aging offerings--is looking at a few leading-edge companies right now with the idea of acquiring one of them. Instant Web 2.0 credibility is the goal!
Big Blue, which bought online backup and archive specialist Arsenal last December in a forward-looking move, had been rumored for years to be interested in buying NetApp, the world's No. 4 or 5 storage company, depending upon which market researcher you believe. That's not going to happen, our sources say. NetApp is cruising along quite comfortably--thank you--and its shareholders appear to be happy with what Chairman and CEO Dan Warmenhoven and President and COO Tom Georgens & Co. are doing.
Apparently the 7,000 or so employees of NetApp feel the same way. The company continues to rank high in surveys about the best IT companies to work for.
So the next best thing for IBM would be to find one of the up-and-coming young storage companies that have elbowed aside some larger competitors and found some loyal customers. Could those candidates be the Minnesota Two--Compellent and Xiotech? Both are now mature companies with excellent products.
How about innovative, independent-minded pioneer LeftHand Networks, or smart-thinking and -acting Spectra Logic? Another couple of good choices.
Gear6 is out there by its lonesome with its cache-centric approach, and many people like them. Seanodes, RevStor and Pillar Data Systems have great efficiencies that IBM lacks. Caringo and Moonwalk, which already have teamed up to form a cutting-edge package of their own, also have some brilliant ideas that could benefit Big Blue.
Our sources say any one of these is a likely candidate for a big-money takeover by the suits from Armonk. But the one that's most whispered about? Compellent.
So, when are you making the announcement, IBM? You know how to find me.