I've spoken with the folks at 3PAR on a number of occasions and always thought that their storage virtualization technology was interesting. Dell must have agreed with my assessment. They've agreed to purchase the company for approximately $1.25 B.
3PAR is one of a number of companies that has looked at how organizations traditionally deployed applications by giving each workload its own storage. These competitors must have thought that was a wasteful practice. The goal clearly was treating storage as an extensible utility that all workloads could use as needed.
Dell has been acquiring companies to flesh out its capabilities to offer portions of virtual storage environment. So far, the company has acquired Ocarina, EqualLogic and some technology from Exanet. The company still needs the help of its partners for virtual access, virtual application, virtual processing and virtual networking environments.
Dell appears to be taking the approach of addressing niche opportunities rather than trying to implement a broad virtualization story.