Network Appliance has signed a $300 million agreement to acquire Spinnaker Networks, a privately held storage vendor that develops scalable system architectures, distributed file systems, and clustering and virtualization technologies.
The move follows Network Appliance's $9 million acquisition in June of the patent portfolio of Auspex Systems, a developer of NAS technology that declared bankruptcy.
With Spinnaker's scalable enterprise storage technology, Network Appliance hopes to build on its Storage Grid architecture, which unifies NAS and SANs, said Suresh Vasudevan, senior director of software at the company.
While most storage vendors concentrate on stand-alone storage arrays, Pittsburgh-based Spinnaker allows storage grids to be built from thousands of inexpensive storage appliances in much the same way that server grids are built using low-cost servers and Linux, Vasudevan said.
Network Appliance currently has software to cluster two of its Filer NAS subsystems but was looking to improve on that scalability when it decided to acquire Spinnaker, Vasudevan said. "It's better to scale by adding multiple systems into one large cluster."
With Spinnaker's technology, Network Appliance also will be able to build global name spaces,virtual representations of physical server locations,that stretch across thousands of nodes and offer distributed data management capabilities that allow data at a company's local and remote sites to be consolidated into a single view, Vasudevan said.
"If they keep buying companies like [Spinnaker], it looks like NetApp will be my vendor of choice," said Michael Fanelli, Western regional manager at solution provider Sales Strategies, Metuchen, N.J. The acquisition will level the playing field between Network Appliance and EMC, he said. "With Spinnaker, NetApp truly becomes an enterprise player."
Spinnaker's technology will be better-suited to the Network Appliance's higher-end solution provider base, which includes partners in verticals such as energy, health care and financial services, Vasudevan said.