Dell Dives Deeper into Storage

Dell plans to buy a privately held British consulting firm as it looks to increase its storage offerings.

Dell appears ready to increase its storage business in 2008, announcing Dec. 21 that it would acquire a privately held storage consulting firm to help increase its presence in the market.

The Networked Storage Company is a consulting firm in Epson, England, that offers a range of services designed to help companies implement data storage solutions. The financial terms of Dell's latest acquisition were not disclosed.

The purchase follows Dell's announcement in November that it would buy EqualLogic, which specializes in iSCSI storage, for $1.4 billion. Dell is looking at iSCSI storage at a time that the IP SANs (storage area networks) space is expected to grow into a $6 billion market in the next five years, according to IDC.

The Networked Storage Company offers a number of services for companies looking to implement storage products with a methodology it calls Point of Proof. It was founded in 2001 by Simon Pennock, who worked for EMC in the United Kingdom, according to the company's Web site.

/zimages/1/28571.gifClick here to read more about how the EqualLogic acquisition will change Dell's relationship with EMC.

The acquisition also fits into Dell's Simplify IT initiative that CEO Michael Dell began talking about earlier this year. The program looks to give customers a streamlined offering of hardware, software and services that should reduce the complexity of the IT infrastructure.

"The Networked Storage Company has an extremely talented team that has developed an industry-leading approach enabling customers to simplify and validate their IT infrastructures," Stephen Murdoch, vice president of Dell's Global Infrastructure Consulting Services, said in a statement. "We plan to incorporate their expertise and world-class methodologies as part of our consulting offerings and scale globally."

Earlier this year, CEO Dell announced that his company would use acquisitions to help it grow and, so far, the company has mainly concentrated its efforts on storage, though it also bought other, smaller businesses that bolstered its services division and its recently established channel program.


The acquisition of both EqualLogic and now Networked Storage helps Dell strengthen two areas in which it had lagged behind other major OEMs for years, specifically storage and services, said Charles King, an analyst with Pund-IT Research.

"Through its acquisition, Dell seems to be focusing on different pain points that its customers are having with network storage," King said. "The technology and business services that are associated with storage is very complex and a lot of these companies are building out their infrastructure at a torrid pace. … I see this as continuing in the next couple of years and companies like Dell want to offer storage products as well as the ability to offer customers ways to manage them."

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