Brocade Invests In Tacit

Tacit develops software that delivers wide-area file services (WAFS) to enterprises using Microsoft's Windows Server 2003 platform.

WAFS is a way for companies with remote offices to manage data in a centralized data center while maintaining LAN-speed access to that information from those remote offices, said Jay Kidd, CTO of Brocade.

"Companies with remote branch offices have mission-critical data that needs to be protected and archived for compliance," said Kidd. "It's often stored ad-hoc, and not protected as well as it should be. Customers can move the data to a central data center for protection, but performance is awful. WAFS centralizes the data and allows rapid access to it."

Based in South Plainfield, N.J., Tacit creates WAFS via a combination of sophisticated protocols, caching and integration with Microsoft Windows storage and security features, said Kidd. With Tacit's WAFS products, changes to a file at a remote office are cached at that office and compressed for immediate transmission to the central location, he said.

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As part of the new relationship, announced Tuesday, Brocade has the exclusive rights to offer Tacit's WAFS appliance -- as well as its software that turns an Intel-based server into such an appliance -- through its OEM and solution provider channels.

Brocade and Tacit will also jointly develop new WAFS software. Brocade has a 10 percent equity stake in the startup.

In the first stage of the new partnership, Brocade will take Tacit's existing products to market as is. The two will also start working in management interfaces between their software products. Further down the road, Brocade plans to integrate Tacit's WAFS technology with its intelligent Fibre Channel switches, Kidd said.

The Brocade/Tacit relationship is only the latest in a string of recent WAFS efforts.

In December, Cisco unveiled a new WAFS appliance based on technology it inherited when it acquired Actona last June.

In addition, Tacit has WAFS technology partnerships with such vendors as EMC, IBM and Microsoft.