Second, you have a business or IT department to run. Selection still has to be made based on what is going to most completely solve your challenges, not on who is buying what. Look at the technologies on their capabilities as they stand today, don't wait until we figure out who wins the bidding war and what the result will be. It will take years before we fully realize what the implications of any transaction are.
Third, put limited value in the theoretical road maps that are sure to follow as a result of this purchase. While either company that does the acquiring will want to tell you that it is going to roll the technology into primary storage, look for something that is working right now, like Ocarina Networks, Storwize, or frankly NetApp on their boxes.
In archive, deduplication is just one aspect to consider, and companies like Permabit, Nexsan, and Copan Systems each offer other capabilities that are a requirement in this space, like massive scale, power efficiency, and compliance features.
Finally, again no matter what company wins the bidding war, there is going to be an overlap in product lines offered by that company. Don't buy into an integration road map or single source of support. The products have to be valued on their own merits; history shows that integration from acquisition, if it ever happens, takes years.
The net of all this activity is that you should be developing a strategy around storage efficiency, but don't forget that efficiency is not just a CAPEX issue but a OPEX issue as well and as we indicated in our recent article on storage cost cutting, the first step in any strategy is to know what you have.
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George Crump is founder of Storage Switzerland, an analyst firm focused on the virtualization and storage marketplaces. It provides strategic consulting and analysis to storage users, suppliers, and integrators. An industry veteran of more than 25 years, Crump has held engineering and sales positions at various IT industry manufacturers and integrators. Prior to Storage Switzerland, he was CTO at one of the nation's largest integrators.