Dell's $1.15 billion acquisition of IT storage provider 3PAR, which develops highly virtualized storage solutions, allows it to expand its broader enterprise portfolio. A recent survey suggests Dell's focus on cost-efficient products has attracted cash-strapped IT administrators.
Dell has agreed to acquire IT storage provider 3PAR for
approximately $1.15 billion, a move that will likely help Dell propel its
enterprise strategy. 3PAR develops virtualized storage solutions with an
emphasis on features such as thin provisioning.
Dell will incorporate 3PAR into a storage portfolio that
includes PowerVault, EqualLogic and Dell/EMC. Dell claims that 3PAR's assets,
once fully baked into its offerings, will offer a combination of greater
efficiencies and lower data-management costs. 3PAR's multitenant, clustered
architecture allows IT organizations to deliver both hardware and software as a
service, in theory making it ideal for corporations looking for cloud-based
During an Aug. 16 conference call with media and analysts,
Dell executives made it clear that they intended to rapidly grow their new
acquisition, with expansions planned on both the engineering and sales side.
3PAR currently boasts more than 600 employees.
"We're seeing increasing demand for a new class of storage,"
Brad Anderson, senior vice president of Dell's Enterprise Product Group, said
during that call. "For businesses and models that provide storage as a utility,
we think 3PAR is a fantastic addition to that lineup."
Anderson also hinted that the acquisition played into Dell's
broader enterprise strategy, particularly as large businesses begin to
gravitate toward the cloud for IT services such as storage. However, the
potential advantages extend beyond storage.
"I hear they're looking at it as a competitive
differentiator, where they can claim a rich storage portfolio," Roger Kay, an analyst
with Endpoint Technologies Associates, said in an Aug. 16 interview with eWEEK,
"which can then let them establish a beachhead in the enterprise where they can
sell commodity servers."
The 3PAR acquisition, in other words, helps Dell round out
its enterprise portfolio.
"Because Dell is building a storage-asset base under its own
roof, they can say: this is our technology. They've developed it, they've
inherited a customer base," Kay added. "If they had a weak point, storage would
recent survey by TheInfoPro suggested that, as cash-strapped businesses
spend more slowly on servers and other IT infrastructure, both Dell and Cisco
Systems could benefit from a focus on competitive pricing. In addition, the
survey found that IT pros were interested in reducing their number of physical
servers via virtualization, another trend that plays into Dell's corporate
On the consumer side of the equation, Dell is entering the
tablet PC market with its 5-inch Streak, which went on presale Aug. 12. Dell
likely hopes that the Streak's ability to Web surf, display multimedia and make
voice calls will help distinguish it from the Apple iPad, whose success added
fuel to the consumer tablet category.
Nicholas Kolakowski is a staff editor at eWEEK, covering Microsoft and other companies in the enterprise space, as well as evolving technology such as tablet PCs. His work has appeared in The Washington Post, Playboy, WebMD, AARP the Magazine, AutoWeek, Washington City Paper, Trader Monthly, and Private Air. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.