In the last days we saw -again- a recurring and interesting rumor about Dell interested in buying Brocade. This week we (me and Fabio) will attend two important vendor events: HP Discover and Brocade showing renewed partnerships with both to compete against Cisco in the coverged stack war.

Why Dell

First of all: Dell still miss its own networking stuff! Brocade isn’t just FC anymore, after the Foundry acquisition it is now a respected networking player with very good products for the Datacenter, from the core to the top of the rack! Not to mention that now Brocade has a very interesting product line for converged networking (IP and FC).

Dell, needs networking gear and the current OEM contracts aren’t the right way to go for them especially the Juniper stuff (very well know and appreciated in the ISP market) is not the best fit for Dell’s customers.

From an another point of view we may add that FC SANs still appear in *all* IT spending budgets, especially in the very high end of the market, and they will stick there for many years to come even if FCoE will succeed as the Datacenter connectivity standard!
This simply means that, for Dell, this can be a good opportunity to sell high end storage and networking stuff to the higher end of the market. Probably we can consider this scenario as a second opportunity for Dell to step into an high end storage/networking relationship with big IT spenders.

Better than the “best”

With this potential acquisition Dell could build the best hardware
stack with many advantages if compared to VCE’s vBlock. Dell could bring to customer more connectivity options (not only FCoE but also iSCSI), more storage options (Compellent on the FC side but
also iSCSI with Equallogic and NFS/CIFS with Exanet IP), more hardware options (blades and servers with different processors), more software options: just remember that the V in VCE is for VMware! Dell could partner with Microsoft and Citrix too.
But that’s not all, VCE is an integrator while Dell is a manufacturer!
Dell could almost completely control the development of the parts of
the stack (except the hypervisor) and it is well positioned to offer the best support services.

Why HP

HP has all the networking products it needs to fight against CISCO and it’s clear that they are pushing a lot but there is a hole in the HP proposition: FC and FCoE.
In theory HP doesn’t need Brocade but, in practice, they still don’t own a proper FC/FCoE stack and there is a big risk to leave to Dell the opportunity to become the most important networking storage

You know, I will discover in the next days if HP is ready to deliver a complete Datacenter ethernet solution to its customer but I’m sure they will not have FC switches.


We have already seen HP and Dell in a bid war last year for 3Par and the risk (this time for Dell) is to overpay for Brocade…. Without mentioning the fact that IBM could be the third uncomfortable player at this match!

I’m at the HP Discover event now with Storage and convergence as my primary topics… stay tuned to know what I will learn!