Who is a better suitor for 3PAR - Dell or HP?

One would think that VMworld is all about virtualization, but before the show is underway the clear talk of the town is the upcoming 3PAR merger. IT pro Rick Vanover highlights some thoughts on the topic.

Coming into VMworld 2010 in San Francisco, one would think that the big debate amongst attendees would revolve around cloud technologies. Another topic for discussion could be VMware’s recent vSphere 4.1 release. During the VMunderground Warm-Up-Party-As-A-Service reception, or WuPaaS, the big discussions I had revolved around the ongoing 3PAR acquisition drama. HP and Dell have been in a bidding war for 3PAR, and this is quite the discussion point for VMworld attendees before the show has even officially started.

In my conversations with various attendees at the WuPaaS reception, there were a number of opinions that were presented in favor of both parties. Should HP end up victorious in the 3PAR acquisition, this could allow HP to provide a high-end storage solution with its own design and engineering staff resources. HP, like Dell, currently engages in OEM relationships with its higher-end storage products. HP has other OEM storage relationships, including those with Dot Hill Systems for the modular storage array systems. I like HP to win the 3PAR battle to give HP a more competitive offering in the higher-end solutions. The question is, what will the execution look like? A number of other storage and infrastructure administrators may have questions about this very point based on HP’s IBRIX acquisition.

Should Dell end up the winning suitor, many of the WuPaaS attendees would see that as the better arrangement. For one, I’ll concede that Dell manages a slightly better channel than the various number of HP channel arrangements. In my opinion, that is important but not the only factor in play. Many people cite Dell’s recent acquisitions of Equallogic, Exanet and Ocarina as part of a broad-reaching strategy to deliver a robust storage solution. If 3PAR is added into the mix, the solution is rather compelling up and down the stack. Consider also the potential for each of the solutions bring to a single sales channel, Dell is on to something here.

It is clear that both HP and Dell can’t just plan on their servers making the storage sales. The competition is fierce, and these organizations are willing to shell out major dough to make a move. Where do you want 3PAR to end up? Share your comments below.