In my previous post, I discussed why I thought that NetApp’s acquisition of Engenio was a difficult one and why I question the value of the combined entity. Simply put, there seems to be redundancy in the product line and it makes you wonder how a merged company creates substantial new value. However, there is another angle that could help explain the move and can be simply explained in three letters – IBM.
NetApp has an existing relationship with IBM where IBM OEMs NetApp filers for their “N-Series” product line. These products are virtually the same as what you can buy from NetApp directly. However, the big difference is that they can be sold, quoted and supported by IBM. IBM does have their own higher end NAS products called SONAS, but the N-series is still an important part of the IBM portfolio. Clearly this relationship is an important one for both companies.