Looking more closely at the prospect of Dell continuing its acquisition strategy for a storage company, a few good candidates come to mind. However, some companies may be more likely candidates that others. Compellent, for example, could be a likely candidate, given the company's continued growth and success in the enterprise space. Compellent has been doing well in Hyper-V and VMware environments, and this tends to fit with Dell's vision of expansion into the enterprise space with its focus on Virtual Infrastructure Solutions.
Pillar Data Systems has been discussed in the press as a potential target, however, I believe it is doubtful Dell will move forward with Pillar given Pillar's limited enterprise engagements and other investor entanglements. DataDirect Networks could be in Dell's crosshairs, given the their success in ultra high-speed storage for media application environments; however, there may be more enterprise robustness needed in their storage arrays to make it a prime Dell acquisition target.
Isilon, another storage company that has been discussed as a potential Dell acquisition target, has built its continuing enterprise success somewhat quietly over the years. Isilon understands network storage very well and may be well-positioned given their focus on 1GbE and 10GbE connectivity. On September first, Isilon announced their VMware-ready status, which means they have passed evaluation testing managed by VMware, and they are now listed in the VMware Partner Product Catalog and on the VMware Hardware Compatibility List.
What is now clear is that HP will acquire and integrate the 3Par InServ line and Dell appears to be set on being able to deliver a more robust enterprise class storage product to round out its overall enterprise strategy. For Dell, there is no make vs. buy decision. Dell will buy an enterprise class storage solution. The remaining question is which enterprise storage vendor will Dell buy from, or will they flat-out make another bid to buy a storage company?
What do think Dell will do?