Brocade Acquires Rhapsody, Gets Fibre Channel Switch Intelligence

On Tuesday, San Jose, Calif.-based Fibre Channel switch vendor Brocade Communications acquired Rhapsody Networks, a developer of Fibre Channel switches with added management capabilities.

Also on Tuesday, XIOtech received an infusion of cash from Oak Investment Partners, making that venture capital firm the largest shareholder in the Eden Prairie, Minn.-based developer of storage arrays.

Brocade has for a long time been looking for ways to increase the intelligence of its switches and found such a way with Rhapsody, said Jay Kidd, vice president of product marketing at Brocade.

The Rhapsody platform offers APIs other developers can use to make applications that take advantage of switching fabric-based volume management capabilities, including the ability to define storage volumes so they can be accessed by multiple servers, said Kidd.

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Those APIs also allow applications that enable data mirroring between remote data centers and data replication across sites and between arrays from nonlike vendors, all without involving the application server, Kidd said.

Rhapsody already gas delivered demo units to a number of OEMs and is expected to enter the qualification process early next year, said Kidd. Initially, Brocade will sell the Rhapsody switches alongside its own switches but eventually plans to integrate the Rhapsody technology into its switches, he said.

Rhapsody was in discussion with a number of OEMs, including developers of serverless backup, disaster recovery and storage virtualization software, Kidd said. The company may already have been in discussions with Brocade's switch rivals such as QLogic and McData, discussions that may now be more "awkward," he said.

Under the terms of the acquisition, Brocade exchanged 23.4 million shares of its common stock for complete control of Rhapsody, making the deal worth about $175 million. However, the final purchase price will be determined on the date of the close of the sale, expected to happen in January.

In the other storage investment on Tuesday, Oak's investment in XIOtech makes Oak the majority investor in the storage company, said Dan McCormick, vice president of marketing at XIOtech.

Oak in the past has invested in other technology vendors including Seagate, Compaq and Sybase, said McCormick. Until the Oak investment, Seagate was the majority shareholder in XIOtech.

The investment comes shortly before the expected IPO of Seagate, which went private two years ago.