As HP snaps up LeftHand, DataCore extends its right

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Earlier this week, HP announced that it signed a definitive agreement to acquire LeftHand Networks, a provider of storage virtualization and iSCSI storage area network (SAN) solutions. This is a big deal, because LeftHand Networks has more than 11,000 installations across 3,000 different customers.

Make no mistake, this is all about iSCSI and follows Dell’s Nov. 2007 acquisition of iSCSI vendor EqualLogic. And at least one observer believes that LeftHand grew by targeting the uncertainty EqualLogic’s resellers faced after its acquisition by Dell, using the opportunity to grow its own reseller base.

With the addition of LeftHand, HP adds midrange offerings to its suite of iSCSI solutions. The low end of the market will be served by the HP StorageWorks All-in-One Storage System (AiO) and HP StorageWorks Modular Smart Array (MSA) product lines. The high end will be addressed by the HP StorageWorks Enterprise Virtual Array (EVA) line.

HP says that customers will benefit since LeftHand solutions are already certified to work with “a wide range of HP products, including HP ProLiant servers, HP BladeSystem infrastructure, HP ProCurve Networking and HP Insight Control management software.”

What hasn’t been discussed is how the relationship with LeftHand’s more than 500 resellers and distributors worldwide will change.

Interestingly, one competitor isn’t waiting to find out.

DataCore is offering VARs and solution providers its own incentive“Step Up to DataCore” program, no doubt targeting this latest wave of channel uncertainty.

The program includes discounted software and extra margin rebates and is designed to help LeftHand resellers become DataCore partners. According to the company, DataCore believes the uncertainty surrounding LeftHand’s loss of independence is an opportune moment for LeftHand resellers to seriously consider stepping to DataCore’s product line. Noting that DataCore software can plug in anywhere that LeftHand appliances are in place, partners can upgrade their customers from LeftHand to DataCore without additional hardware investment by installing it on the LeftHand appliance hardware.

Give DataCore points for strategy. If you’re a LeftHand reseller, what will you do as the company gets absorbed by HP? Post your comments!

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