The current bout of vendor consolidation could continue intothe autumn after reports emerged over the weekend that Brocade has quietly putitself on the market.
In the past fortnight Cisco, Dell and Xerox forked outbillions of dollars for video-conferencing specialist Tandberg, integratorPerot Systems and services outfit Affiliated Computer Services (ACS)respectively.
Quoting a source familiar with the situation, the Wall Street Journal namedHewlett-Packard and Oracle as rivals for Brocade's affections, but stressed adeal is neither imminent nor assured.
HP is known to be keen to bulk up its ProCurve networkingdivision as the unit goes up against Cisco, while Oracle could be keen to addsome more storage firepower to its recent acquisition of Sun.
Any deal struck would be potentially traumatic for Brocade'snascent channel; the vendor muscled in on the datacentre networking market lastyear when it bought Foundry Networks, and has spent lavishly on coaxing a reseller programme into life.
Questions must therefore be asked as to whether Brocadewould stand to see its hard work messed around through another tortuousintegration process.
Bob Tarzey, service director at industry analysis houseQuocirca, saw further issues arising from Brocade's OEM-style approach tostorage.
"If one hardware vendor was looking to acquire the storagenetworking assets of Brocade they would have to manage a range of long-term OEMcontracts with their competitors," he said.
Brocade's OEM partner list reads like a who's who of the SANworld, including Dell, EMC, HDS, HP, IBM and NetApp to name but a few.
Brocade declined to comment, saying it does not discussspeculation, and neither HP nor Oracle have yet broken cover.