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10/1/2008
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HP Offers $360 Million For Storage Player LeftHand Networks

LeftHand's iSCSI SAN software can play nicely with virtual servers, because the product can be packaged with a virtual machine and used as a virtual storage appliance.

Hewlett-Packard on Wednesday said it has agreed to buy LeftHand Networks for $360 million in cash, filling a midmarket gap in HP's iSCSI storage area network offerings.

In addition, the LeftHand acquisition, which is expected to close by January, is a response to Dell's acquisition last January of LeftHand rival EqualLogic, which last month released its first products since the Dell purchase.

LeftHand provides software for aggregating direct attached storage into a shared SAN. In addition, its SAN/iQ software can play nicely with virtual servers, because the product can be packaged with a virtual machine and used as a virtual storage appliance. Overall, LeftHand software offers storage, backup, and disaster recovery.

HP says LeftHand would give it an offering for midsize companies that the computer maker didn't have before. For small companies, HP has the StorageWorks All-in-One Storage System and the StorageWorks Modular Smart Array. For large corporations, HP offers the StorageWorks Enterprise Virtual Array. LeftHand software already is certified on HP hardware and software, including ProLiant servers, BladeSystem infrastructure, ProCurve Networking, and Insight Control management software.

"The acquisition of LeftHand Networks significantly expands our storage portfolio, enabling HP to deliver customers an expanded suite of storage functionality, scalable capacity and interconnect options for every budget and performance requirement," Dave Roberson, senior VP and general manager for HP's StorageWorks division, said in a joint statement with LeftHand.

LeftHand would also bring to HP a sizable customer base. The 9-year-old Boulder, Colo., company has more than 11,000 installations across 3,000 customers, according to HP. In addition, LeftHand has 215 employees and more than 500 resellers and distributors worldwide. Once the deal is completed, HP plans to integrate LeftHand into the StorageWorks division, which is a part of HP's Technology Solutions Group.

"Joining with HP is a natural fit for our customers and channel partners, giving them an expanded portfolio of server, storage, and networking products and services that are already supported by LeftHand Networks’ solutions," LeftHand chief executive Bill Chambers said.

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