3Par partner CentriLogic ‘excited’ by HP/Dell acquisition

An executive with a Canadian-based partner to 3PAR won’t say whether Hewlett Packard Co. (NYSE: HPQ) or Dell Inc. (NASDAQ: DELL) would be the preferred acquirer in the bidding war that began in mid-August, but he is certain that either company will be good for its relationship with the utility storage provider.

Toronto-based managed services provider CentriLogic Inc. was the first Canadian company to join 3PAR’s Cloud Agile partner program this summer. CentriLogic’s vice-president of client solutions Jim Latimer, said the possibilities that will come out of HP or Dell buying 3PAR are exciting considering the company’s cloud computing and storage offering relies on a foundation that is 3PAR technology.

“It feels good that our decisions are being validated by HP and Dell,” said Latimer. “Being acquired by either of those companies will further solidify the offering and bring an economy of scale to what 3PAR is doing. So we’re pretty excited about it.”

The bidding war began in mid-August when Dell originally struck a deal to buy 3PAR for roughly US$1.15 billion, but the agreement had a clause which opened the door for competing offers. HP then made a US$1.6-billion counter offer for the company, a bid that Dell then matched. HP later upped its bid to US$1.8 billion. Dell matched that too. It now currently stands with a US$2-billion offer by HP.

Latimer won’t state a preference for either HP or Dell to acquire 3PAR but he said it’s encouraging that both companies have invested a lot into research and development, which will allow 3PAR to grow the business. “I think it’s a good fit in terms of attention towards innovation. We think it’s just going to be positive,” said Latimer.

While Latimer is a little surprised by the fierceness of the bidding war, he said he understands why it’s happening given CentriLogic’s positive experience with 3PAR’s products and services.

John Sloan, lead analyst with London, Ont.-based Info-Tech Research Group, echoed this sentiment by pointing-out that large enterprises are currently investing in building out virtual cloud infrastructures and that 3PAR can leverage its success in utility infrastructure to be a key cloud storage player-a useful asset to both HP and Dell.

“That’s where the growth is for the two companies,” said Sloan. “They aren’t making money on PCs right now. They’re making money on servers and storage.”

Sloan added that 3PAR has generally been good at keeping up with hot trends, such as when it rebranded its storage portfolio as a green offering that promised customers lower power consumption as a result of better utilization.

But while HP appears to have the upper hand right now in the bidding war for 3PAR with its US$2-billion bid, Sloan said Dell has a greater need to acquire 3PAR than does HP. “(Dell has) more work to prove themselves in the enterprise coming from a commodity background,” said Sloan.

But whichever way an acquisition goes, Latimer is happy for the “unexpected benefit” experienced by CentriLogic, whose Web site and Twitter account has got increased traffic in recent days.

Follow Kathleen Lau on Twitter: @KathleenLau.

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