Brocade Communications Systems, which makes networking and storage gear for data centers, has reportedly put itself up for sale and Oracle and HP are among the interested parties.
According to the Wall Street Journal, Brocade is looking at acquisition possibilities. Brocade may not sell out, but is exploring its options.
The fact that HP examining a Brocade purchase isn't surprising. HP and Cisco are on a collision course and HP CEO Mark Hurd could use Brocade's portfolio to target more networking hardware (Brocade owns Foundry Networks).
But that fact that Oracle is interested raises a few interested possibilities. Brocade and Sun are partners. If Oracle bought Brocade it would shed any doubt that it was serious about the hardware business. Oracle CEO Larry Ellison has said he wants to provide complete systems, much like T.J. Watson's IBM did.
While Oracle and HP are interested in Brocade it's worth pondering IBM's role too. IBM is also a Brocade partner and may conclude that it needs a hardware play as other vendors notably HP and Cisco are pitching next generation data center architectures. Dell would be another company possibly interested in purchasing Brocade.
Churchill Club audio: Larry Ellison, in Conversation with Ed Zander