Network Appliance (NetApps) will acquire privately held Spinnaker Networks, which provides enterprise networked storage applications, in a deal worth about $300m.
NetApps claimed the move will accelerate the delivery of its Storage Grid architecture for Sans and Nas.
"This is clearly a technology buy," said Tim Pitcher, NetApps' vice president for northern Europe. "The idea is to have a simple, open interface architecture, giving greater flexibility."
The idea behind storage grids is the provision of storage capacity on demand at high speed from the available pools of storage distributed across the network.
It also complements grid applications, which run using spare capacity on computers on the network, and includes connection using different protocols.
Pitcher explained that this means access using primarily Fibre Channel and iSCSI, while providing a single virtualised view and management of distributed corporate data.
Pitcher said the buy was good news for NetApps' customers. But he added: "It does not alter any of our go-to-market strategies."
Simon Gay, consultancy practice leader at Computacenter, said: "Management of distributed pools of storage is becoming a bigger issue and this adds to NetApps' portfolio.
"It confirms that NetApps is making efforts to broaden its appeal from being a NAS-only supplier."
But there are various technical hurdles to achieving a storage grid, including ensuring storage availability, quality-of-service and data security.
Steve Duplessie, principal analyst at US storage analyst Enterprise Storage Group, suggested that Spinnaker's leadership in next-generation storage architecture would allow NetApps to extend high-end storage and unify Sans with Fibre Channel and iSCSI.
Spinnaker has shipped more than 75 SpinServer systems worldwide this year but does not have its own formal distribution channel.
After completion of the deal, expected to be in January, the Spinnaker product line will be integrated into the NetApps family, with Spinnaker's Pittsburgh facility becoming a NetApps engineering and development site.
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