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Hitachi Data Systems buys NAS-vendor BlueArc

BlueArc will allow HDS to more quickly expand its fast growing file storage business

Hitachi Data Systems (HDS) today acquired high-end network-attached storage (NAS) vendor BlueArc in an all-cash deal.

HDS declined to disclose the value of the deal.

HDS has been reselling BlueArc's NAS systems for the past five years.

The impending deal was kept under close wraps, according to Bruce Householder, senior vice president of worldwide marketing and business development at HDS. "From my standpoint most companies would like to keep deals under wraps. I'm glad that we did."

BlueArc sells enterprise-class NAS arrays that serve up file-based data to application servers. The company's Titan and Mercury series file servers scale up to 16PB and eight nodes through the use of clustering technology.

The company also offers block-based storage arrays in its RS-line of products .

BluArc's products are based on the proprietary SiliconFS File System , which provides a single, unified storage management console that lets applications servers access data via CIFS, NFS and iSCSI protocols.

San Jose-based BlueArc has about 300 employees and last year reported about $85.5 million in sales. Householder said BlueArc has about 1,000 customers, half of which purchased its NAS arrays through HDS.

HDS, a subsidiary of Hitachi Ltd., is based in Santa Clara, Calif. and has about 3,200 employees. Last year, the parent firm reported $112.4 billion in sales.

HDS sells large data storage systems for mid-size and large corporations.

The company's flagship Hitachi Universal Storage Platform VM (USP-V) system combines tens to hundreds of disk drives into a single virtual pool of capacity that can be carved up for applications. The system can automatically expand capacity depending on business demands.

Householder said BlueArc's NAS gateway systems are already tightly integrated with Hitachi's enterprise-class Hitachi Virtual Storage Platform storage controller, allowing file-based data to be served from HDS storage arrays.

Householder said sales of HDS's file and content products, which include the BlueArc systems, have been growing faster than HDS's overall growth rate.

"At the end of the day, unlike a car that's a depreciating asset, (BlueArc) is an appreciating asset, and one that we consider will continue to have value over time. If you look at it in term of things two and three years out as to what we can do together, this is one that made sense for us to own," he said.

In a statement, HDS pointed to booming growth in file-based storage systems. "That area, as well as our software and virtualization, has been key areas to our growth," Householder said.

Without giving specifics, Household said HDS is looking to even more tightly integrate BlueArc's technology.

HDS is heavily focused on cloud architectures, both public and private.

Householder said BlueArc's current CEO, Mike Gustafson, would continue to lead the company, which will also continue to run as its own entity.

With this acquisition, HDS said it is executing on its strategy to transform "traditional data centers" into service oriented architectures.

HDS's cloud strategy allows IT administrators to automate the management of file and block data together and allows users to seamlessly store and access all data from anywhere independent of the infrastructure and application.

"Over the past 5 years, BlueArc has been an integral part of our strategy to help customers store and manage unstructured data of all types, such as video, email, medical imaging, scientific data and more," Jack Domme, CEO of HDS, said in a statement. "Bringing BlueArc into the Hitachi family will enable us to better serve customers with more tightly integrated technologies, broader capabilities and deeper expertise globally."

Lucas Mearian covers storage, disaster recovery and business continuity, financial services infrastructure and health care IT for Computerworld. Follow Lucas on Twitter at @lucasmearian , or subscribe to Lucas's RSS feed . His e-mail address is [email protected] .

Read more about storage in Computerworld's Storage Topic Center.


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