5 Companies That Should Be on Dell's Shopping List

delle.jpegSince Dell (s dell) keeps telling folks it wants to buy some companies, we’ve written out a list that Michael Dell should consult as he expands his eponymous empire. Second-hand sources quoted in the Wall Street Journal today said that the company was seeking deals in data storage and tech services. The article also noted that Dell hired a former IBM deal maker last month who has since been sued by his former employer to keep him from getting involved in strategy discussions at the computer giant. So since Dell’s new M&A guru can’t offer up ideas, we thought we’d take a stab at it. Readers, feel free to offer up your own suggestions in the comments below.

CommVault (s cvlt): Dell already supplies CommVault software (including de-duplication software) in some of its storage boxes, and accounted for about 22 percent of CommVault’s sales in the last nine months of calendar 2008. With the fight over Data Domain (s ddup), de-duplication is hot. And storage is clearly an area where Dell wants to buy something.

oDesk: Dell equals low-cost hardware and just-in-time manufacturing, and as a services play, oDesk mimics that philosophy. Need a developer for next week? Through oDesk, Dell could provide a cheap contractor on a just-in-time basis. This isn’t the IBM services model, but it’s quintessential Dell.

ParaScale: This startup makes software that allows companies to build their own storage clouds. This is another way Dell can create a low-touch services offering to customers, rather than get into an intensive, consulting-based relationship with companies that require cloud storage from an outside vendor.

Vyatta: With Cisco (s csco) launching its own servers, and HP emphasizing computing and switching in its gear, why shouldn’t Dell be bold and acquire its own switching assets? Vyatta is like the open-source Cisco, and combining it with Dell’s servers gives folks low-cost, functional products — something people come to Dell for in the first place.

Palm (s palm): I know, I made fun of this last month, and have an idea that Dell would likely grind down the Palm folks with its exacting and less-than-innovative culture, but it’s also a move that could make sense. Perhaps Dell could model this deal on its Alienware acqusition that left the high-end gaming maker a separate subsidiary that didn’t have to deal with Round Rock.