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DataCore exploits LeftHand channel uncertainty

Paul Kunert

Virtualisation player DataCore has lined up a programme to woo LeftHand Networks' resellers with software discounts and rebates in a bid to unsettle the rival's channel following the proposed acquisition by Hewlett-Packard.

Last week HP confirmed it had agreed to buy LeftHand for $360m in cash, extending its reach into the iSCSI SAN market and the range of price points offered to customers.

The "Step Up to DataCore" scheme will try to convert any reseller potentially disillusioned by HP's move - another system vendor buying an iSCSI appliance manufacturer - by offering yet-to-be-stated aggressive terms.

"HP is a terrific company," said James Price, DataCore Software vice president of product and channel marketing, "however many LeftHand resellers, like our own partners, differentiate themselves from the competition by tailoring their solutions to the specific needs and budgets of their customers."

"Freedom from hardware tie-ins is critical to delivering these solutions," Price added. The firm said its software can plug into any LeftHand appliance and businesses could shift to its technology with no extra hardware buy-in.

But money talks in the channel and to alter resellers' behaviour, DataCore said it will "aid VARs impacted" by the pending HP acquisition through discounted software and extra margin rebates as long as they register customer accounts.

Some would say this is sweet justice as sources said LeftHand tried to disrupt EqualLogic's channel following its acquisition by Dell - the first iSCSI appliance manufacturer to be acquired by a large systems house.

One LeftHand reseller that asked to remain anonymous said the channel had generally responded quite well to HP's bid and "customers like LeftHand's architecture, now it will have the backing of a global brand".

Rather than unsettling LeftHand, the acquisition by HP will give the technology more credibility said Joe Fagan, group product marketing manager at CMS Peripherals, one of the vendor's UK distribution partners.

"It gives credibility to the LeftHand Network value proposition and should increase pull through from users and make the sales cycle easier [for resellers]" he told Microscope.

The acquisition by HP is due to complete in January 2009 and the integration is expected to take a further twelve months.

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