Partners have reacted favourably to the news that Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) is to acquire Nimble Storage in a $1bn deal.
HPE announced today that it has entered an agreement to acquire Nimble at a price of $12.50 per share.
The acquisition comes after HPE splashed out $650m on hyper-converged newcomer SimpliVity in January, while HPE Aruba snapped up behavioural security analytics firm Niara last month.
Speaking about the Nimble acquisition HPE CEO Meg Whitman said: "Nimble Storage's portfolio complements and strengthens our current 3PAR [all-flash] products in the high-growth flash storage market and will help us deliver on our vision of making hybrid IT simple for our customers.
"And, this acquisition is exactly aligned with the strategy and capital allocation approach we've laid out. We remain focused on high-growth and higher margin segments of the market."
In a blog post on the Nimble website CEO Suresh Vasudevan said the vendor had to turn to a sale as it looks to continue to grow its business.
"As proud as we are of what we have accomplished, we face a challenge of scale and significant exposure as a standalone storage company," he said. "Our aspiration has always been to be an innovation leader, and see our technology deployed in organisations around the globe.
"But, as we weighed the opportunities and risks, we concluded that an acquisition makes sense at the right price with the right partner. We believe we've found both.
"As we look ahead, we are confident that by combining Nimble Storage's technology leadership with HPE's global distribution strength, strong brand, and enterprise relationships, we're creating expansion opportunities for the combined company."
Jonathan Lassman, managing director at Nimble partner Epaton, said the acquisition is the type that incumbent vendors need to be making if they are to keep up with fast-innovating start-ups.
"There's no point buying from the old guard when the old guard are trying to keep up with the new, and this just proves that," he said.
"The Dell purchase of EMC is basically an old-guard vendor buying an old-guard vendor and that hasn't leapt them forward technology-wise, that's just created a bigger old-guard vendor.
"What HPE has done is said ‘who are the up-and-coming next-gen vendors? If we buy SimpliVity and merge them with Nimble we've then created our own hyper-converged vendor and next-gen vendor all in one'.
"HPE has just bought two next-gen vendors in the space of two months which just validates the market and everything I've been saying that the only mistake you can make is buy from the old guard - HPE just became the new guard."
Howard Hall, managing director at HPE partner DTP Group, welcomed the acquisition, saying the DTP was gearing up to become a Nimble partner anyway as it looked for a more cost-effective all-flash solution.
"We were looking for a lower-cost all-flash player with some innovation, which they certainly have in the management tools, so it's really positive," he said.
"What we'd found is that some of the low-cost all-flash providers which are typically start-up or newer businesses - the Pures and the Nimbles of this world and to a lesser extend Huawei- - are just very aggressive and are able to be more aggressive than HPE could.
"That should fix a gap in the portfolio I think, but also my techs love the software that Nimble has. There is some innovation there, it's not just about buying a cheaper offering for storage."
While the integration of the two companies is set to expand the products available to partners of both vendors, Epaton's Lassman warned HPE not to tamper with the pricing structure that has brought success to Nimble partners.
"The problem that the old guard have when taking on next-gen vendors is they take the margin out of it for the reseller channel and the channel gets less interested in selling it because it's not an interesting proposition anymore," he said.
"If HPE do it correctly and leave margin in for the channel, make it an easy acquisition compared to buying HPE as it is today - which is a real ballache - and if they don't change the purchasing mechanism then it could open up an avenue for next-gen resellers like us to get access to the whole portfolio."
John Pepper, CEO of Managed 24/7, said he hopes Nimble is able to keep its innovative touch despite becoming part of a giant vendor.
"It is interesting times in the flash storage market," he said.
"Nimble have certainly been cutting edge with their built-in predictive analytics capability and would have been attractive to many vendors.
"I hope they manage to retain their innovation and forward thinking now they are part of a goliath."
Security firm set to become part of acquisitive Shearwater Group
Distributor merges three northern sites into one new hub in Warrington
Activist investor puts forward five director candidates as turmoil continues at security giant
Nima Green asks what is driving public cloud uptake in Germany