Top storage acquisitions of 2007

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Top storage acquisitions of 2007

Dave Raffo, News Director

Despite a flurry of storage initial public offerings (IPO) last year, the large vendors still found smaller companies worth buying to beef up their product lines. Although Dell Inc. bought systems company EqualLogic Inc. in the biggest deal of the year, most of the acquisitions dealt with specific technology areas. Services, archiving and products to improve NAS performance and management were popular on shopping lists in 2007.

Here are the 10 most significant storage acquisitions of 2007:

Dell pays $1.4B for EqualLogic

Dell's blockbuster deal was by far the biggest storage acquisition of 2007. Not only was it the highest price paid for a storage company last year, but it gives Dell a complete line of iSCSI storage systems and potential trouble with partners -- its own and EqualLogic's. By buying EqualLogic, Dell raised questions about its six-year-old partnership with EMC Corp. -- an arrangement that has been financially beneficial to both parties. Now Dell has a storage platform that competes with the Clariion systems it sells from EMC. Dell will also have to smooth over hard feelings with EqualLogic's channel partners. Considering Dell made its bones selling direct against the channel, that won't be so easy. Things should heat up when the deal closes in early 2008.

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F5 acquires Acopia for $210M

Networking vendor F5 Networks Inc. placed a $210 million bet on file virtualization becoming a big play in the coming years when it bought Acopia Networks Inc. In 2008, F5 will begin to integrate Acopia's global namespace and other file virtualization technologies into its WanJet WAFS devices. Acopia also plans to add data deduplication, antivirus and indexing to its ARX switches, according to F5 senior vice president of data solutions Chris Lynch.

F5 buys Acopia for $210M

Autonomy annexes Zantaz for $375M

This marriage of enterprise search firm Autonomy Corp. PLC and email archiver Zantaz Inc. was the largest single deal of several involving e-discovery services. This trend is driven by email's rapid expansion in capacity and importance, and new compliance and data retention rules.

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HP picks up PolyServe

Hewlett-Packard Co. (HP) paid around $200 million for its OEM partner PolyServe Inc. to accelerate its clustered file system roadmap. HP plans to integrate PolyServe's software with its ProLiant storage servers in hopes of beating NAS leaders Network Appliance Inc. (NetApp) and EMC in clustered storage.

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IBM bags managed services provider Arsenal Digital

Arsenal Digital Solutions USA Inc. was perhaps the most successful player in the resurgent storage services space, and IBM considers it a perfect fit for its Global Services. Arsenal claims it has more than 20 PBs under management with its data protection services and lists AT&T and other telecom providers as customers. Arsenal was the third company IBM picked up in 2007 to help its storage services, along with data migration specialist Softek Storage Solutions Corp. and storage management services provider and consultant Novus Consulting Group Inc. (NovusCG).

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Iron Mountain pays $202M for ArchivesOne

Records management provider ArchivesOne accounted for about 40% of the approximately $500 million Iron Mountain Corp. spent on acquisitions this year as it further diversifies its business beyond tape archival. Iron Mountain's shopping list included two other records managements firms, RMS Services – USA Inc. and Accutrac Software Inc., and it paid $158 million for e-discovery service provider Stratify Inc.

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HDS archives Archivas

One year after it began reselling Archivas Cluster (ArC) software with its storage systems, Hitachi Data Systems (HDS) bought the startup for around $120 million to intensify its competition against EMC's market-leading Centera archiving product. HDS bills Archivas Inc.'s technology as an open alternative to the proprietary Centera.

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HP opts for Opsware

Storage wasn't the main focus of HP's $1.6 billion buyout of data center automation software vendor Opsware Inc., but Opsware's technology has already spilled over into storage. Like other major vendors, HP is looking to automate storage management. Just after HP acquired it, Opsware released a storage automation module based on technology it acquired from storage resource management (SRM) vendor CreekPath Systems Inc. HP has since revealed plans to combine SRM automation with Opsware's overall data center management framework.

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EMC spends $76M for Berkeley Data Systems

This acquisition is tiny by EMC standards, but it gives the storage giant a pass into the emerging Software as a Service (Saas) space that appears set to take off in 2008.

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Cisco takes NeoPath

It's hard to gauge the significance of this deal. Unlike F5's strong support for Acopia, Cisco Systems Inc. killed NeoPath Network's file virtualization product after spending about $40 million for the startup. The technology will likely turn up somewhere in Cisco's broad product portfolio -- perhaps in its WAFS -- but no plans have been divulged.

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