NetApp Enters ILM Race with $300M Bid

Network Appliance jumped on the information lifecycle
management (ILM) bandwagon Tuesday when it inked a definitive agreement to
acquire privately-held Spinnaker Networks for $300 million in stock.

The deal is an important one for Network Appliance, a Sunnyvale, Calif.,
storage vendor looking to keep up with giants IBM and EMC
in staking territory in the network storage space.
Pittsburgh, Penn.’s Spinnaker makes distributed file systems, clustering
technologies and virtualization, which are some of the qualities of IBM’s
recently announced Storage Tank technology, SAN File System.

Specifically, the purchase will got a long way toward helping the company
speed the delivery of the NetApp “Storage Grid” architecture, part of a
trend by major vendors looking to treat heavy lifting with grid computing
to provide faster transactions and greater scale and volume.

Enterprise Storage group Analyst Steve Kenniston told the purchase will give NetApp a leg up in the high-end storage market.

“Having the clustered file system is nice but I think the real key issue here is that they now have instead of 65-70 percent of the addressable market, they now have another 20 percent of the clustered file system market and have strong placement in high-end storage solutions,” Kennsiston said.

The analyst said the company had done okay amid the biotechnology and pharmaceutical market segments because of its mindshare, but the purchase would make their position that much better.

Geared for both storage area network (SAN) and network-attached
storage (NAS) environments, storage grids offer a dashboard
view to manage corporate data, enabling tighter application integration with
database and enterprise applications. They also afford companies the ability
to more easily manage content based on policies and improve data security.

From helping to ease data creation to deployment to disposal, NetApp is
posing its storage grid as its answer to the information lifecycle
management (ILM) riddle, which EMC, HP and Hitachi Data
Systems all believe they have solved in recent months
through acquisition or in-house development. Analysts say firm ILM
strategies will help storage companies take care of the compliance needs of
their customers in light of the passage, or pending passage, of a number
federal regulations.

“Today’s business demands fast, reliable, secure access to data and robust
new approaches for information lifecycle management,” said Dan Warmenhoven,
CEO of Network Appliance, in a press statement. “The combination of NetApp
unified storage and software solutions with advanced distributed systems
architectures from Spinnaker further accelerates the shift to networked
storage and speeds our ability to deliver powerful new Storage Grids as the
foundation for data infrastructures of the future.”

Upon completion of the deal, Network Appliance will integrate the SpinServer
product line its product family and operate Spinnaker as an engineering and
development site for NetApp in Pittsburgh, padding current NetApp research
and development teams in Massachusetts, North Carolina, and California.

The deal is expected to close by January 2004.

News Around the Web