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HP to Stick With StorageTek

HP hates the Sun takeover, but it looks as if the StorageTek deal's safe on both sides

Customers of Hewlett-Packard Co. (NYSE: HPQ) who lauded the company's plan to sell tape libraries from Storage Technology Corp. (StorageTek) (NYSE: STK) won't be disrupted when StorageTek is absorbed by Sun Microsystems Inc. (Nasdaq: SUNW) later this year (see Sun to Acquire StorageTek for $4.1B).

"That relationship will remain intact. We don't foresee any changes," says Patrick Eitenbichler, director of marketing at HP's StorageWorks Division.

StorageTek's deal with HP was one of the OEM agreements HP announced in its big storage revamp last month (see HP Upgrade Features OEM Crowd). HP will resell StorageTeks SL500 midrange tape library as a companion to its new Enterprise Virtual Array (EVA) midrange SAN systems. HP will rebrand the SL500 as the Enterprise Modular Library (EML) family.

When Sun and StorageTek execs announced their plans this morning, analysts questioned whether HP would go along for the ride or possibly see the merger as a threat to its own storage positioning, as it competes directly with Sun in server and storage markets. Mark Canepa, executive VP of Sun's Network Storage Products Group, appeared confident the deal would stay intact.

Now that appears to be confirmed, but HP isn't making a secret of its negative take on the proposed acquisition. "We do have a negative view. We don't really know what this will do for Sun," Eitenbichler says. "We basically don't see how it falls into Sun's strategy."

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