Daily Archives: September 10, 2011

HDS acquires BlueArc … no surprise

After my early morning exercise routine, I sat down with my laptop hoping to start a new blog entry when a certain HDS news caught my eye. Here’s one of them.

It is of no surprise to me because all along, HDS hardly had a competitive, high-end NAS to compete of their own. Their first Linux-based NAS sucks, and HNAS wasn’t really successful either. But their 5-year OEM with BlueArc gave HDS an strong option to be in the NAS space.

As usual, HDS is as cautious as ever. While the 800-pound EMC has been on a shopping spree for the past 3-4 years, NetApp acquiring a few (note Engenio, Bycast, Akkori, Onaro) along the way, the only notable acquisition made by HDS was Archivas (news here). That was waaaaaay back in 2007. However, what prompted the HDS reaction was a surprise to me. According to Network Computing, it was IBM who wanted to acquire BlueArc, hence triggering HDS to have the first right to fork out the dough for BlueArc.

Why does IBM want to acquire BlueArc? IBM is sliding and lacking the storage array technology of their own. Only XIV and StorWiz(e) are  worth mentioning because their DS-series and N-series belong to NetApp. Their SONAS is pretty much a patchwork of IBM GPFS servers.  In fact, from the same Network Computing article, IBM has terminated their Data DirectNetworks storage back-end and just initiated the sourcing of the storage back-end from NetApp. It is good money to NetApp, but bad for IBM. Their story don’t gel anymore and their platform portfolio staggers as we speak.

This will definitely prompt IBM competitors to sharpen their knives. HP is renewing their artillery with 3PAR and LeftHand, and also IBRIX while Dell is coming out with guns blazing from Compellent, EqualLogic, a bit of Exanet and pretty soon, Ocarina Networks (this is a primary storage deduplication technology). Though Dell lost market share in the last IDC figures, and most likely because of lost EMC sales, they seem to be looking good with Compellent and EqualLogic. HP, is still renewing, and perhaps when they are done ditching their PC business, they should have more focus on the enterprise. Meanwhile, HDS has been winning market share in the last IDC quarter and doing well with their own VSP and AMS series.

HP and Dell have reloaded, and EMC and NetApp coming into the market as storage juggernauts. IBM cannot afford to sit quietly. How long is IBM prepared to do that as the world passes them by?

As for HDS, they are pitching their story together. AMS on the low and mid-end, VSP on the mid to high end. BlueArc fits into the NAS and scale-out NAS space. Yup, they are getting there.

We do not hear much about BlueArc from HDS Malaysia, but be prepared to know more about them soon. Wonder how HDS would rename BlueArc? H-BLU? H-ARC?