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HP no longer plays duet with Violin

While preparing to go public, solid-state array vendor Violin Memory’s relationship with Hewlett-Packard (HP) is cooling.

Violin was the subject of two Bloomberg stories last week. Last Wednesday, Bloomberg reported that Violin had quietly filed its initial public offering (IPO) to become a public company. No surprise there. Violin is heavily funded with more than $150 million, and CEO Don Basile has talked of going public for months. Bloomberg followed that on Friday by reporting that HP is ending a reseller deal with Violin that has been in place for Violin Memory Arrays (VMAs) since 2010. HP indicated it doesn’t need Violin because its sells all-flash models of its flagship 3PAR storage array.

Losing the HP stream of revenue could damage Violin’s IPO plans. Violin has not commented on the IPO filing but a Violin spokeswoman released a statement about “rumors and speculation floating around” concerning the HP deal.

According to Violin:

“The current HP Violin relationship remains unchanged. The VMA product family (the Violin 3000 and vSHARE software) continue to be available to customers via HP as per the announced relationship. HP engineering continues to certify the VMA with additional servers, operating systems and joint selling and promotions. POC (proof of concepts) are currently active as are additional HP certifications.

“HP has stated 3PAR is the long term strategic direction for their company. Violin offers other products like the Violin 6000 through both our direct sales and our global reseller network as well as other software and system vendors which have been announced over the past 12 months.”

HP’s response was not exactly warm and friendly towards Violin. An HP spokesman answered Violin’s claim by saying “HP 3PAR is our strategic platform for solid-state storage.” That was the same statement that appeared in the Bloomberg story Friday. If HP wanted to back track, its response would have been more elaborate.

Another source familiar with HP’s strategy said the original reseller deal is still in place but HP will not extend it. It will, however, honor the deal if customers want to buy a Violin array from HP.

Reading between the lines tells me HP will strongly pitch a 3PAR solid-state array before selling anything from Violin. The reseller deal remains in place, but a reseller deal on paper means nothing if the company that is supposed to do the reselling ignores it.

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