Dell has entered into a definitive agreement to buy virtualized enterprise storage solution vendor Compellent Technologies for $960 million, the companies announced Monday.

Dell will incorporate Compellent’s storage products, including its Compellent Storage Center SAN, into its storage portfolio along with PowerVault, EqualLogic and Dell/EMC products. 

"Compellent is a natural complement to Dell’s expanding enterprise
storage portfolio.  The Compellent storage platform will enable Dell to
provide customers additional mid- and high-end network storage solutions
that simplify and reduce the cost of data management," Brad
Anderson, senior vice president, Enterprise Product Group. 

"Compellent’s design focus on intelligently managing data to increase
efficiency, agility and resiliency is consistent with Dell’s approach of
building solutions that can quickly scale to meet the most demanding
enterprise environment."

While Dell will begin reselling Compellent products immediately, channel partners will have to wait for the deal to close, Anderson said on a conference call announcing the deal.

"We are two separate companies in the interim – we have not reached
out to the Compellant channel partners becaue we’re going to have to operate as separate companies," Anderson said. "We have reached out to ur channel partners and we think that this is a fastastic product.
It’s our hope down the road that we’ll make this available to those partners."

Dell does plan to leverage Compellent’s partner network and maintain the storage vendor’s channel program.

"Our customers have had great success with both Compellent and Dell solutions, and
we’re very excited about the acquisition," Patrick Mulvee, vice president
of sales and marketing, Sidepath, a leading systems integrator, said in a statement.

brings Dell the channel exposure it needs, and Dell can help Compellent develop
and implement new features to continue scaling its storage scale deeper into
large data centers and the cloud. We’re thrilled at what the future holds for
this new enterprise powerhouse."

What the deal will mean for Dell’s EMC customers and channel partners is still unclear. 

"For those customers who really value the EMC attributes, we’re going to continue to sell that and do what’s in the customers best interests. For customers who don’t, clearly we’re going to want to sell the Dell-branded storage portfolio going forward," Anderson said.

Under the agreement, approved by the boards of directors of both companies, Dell will pay $27.75 cash per share for Compellent for a total of about $960 million. The deal is expected to close in early 2011.