Brocade Bags NuView

Spends $60M on file virtualization software in departure from its core switching business

March 7, 2006

3 Min Read
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On the same day Brocade unveiled new products in its traditional switching and routing markets, it also added to its new software platform by acquiring file virtualization startup NuView for $60 million in cash. (See Brocade Bulks Up 4-Gig Gear and Brocade Acquires NuView.)

Brocade will place NuView's products into its Tapestry family of software, which it launched last year with a Wide Area File Services (WAFS) package and an Application Resource Manager (ARM) to provision blade servers. (See Brocade Busts an IT Move.)

NuView's main product is StorageX, which uses global namespace to help manage files on disparate NAS systems. Network Appliance sells StorageX as Virtual File Manager. A source with knowledge of NuView says more than 70 percent of its revenue comes through NetApp. NuView also sells data security, policy-based data management, and business continuity software.

File virtualization is an emerging technology that NAS users have been waiting to mature. (See Insider: Users Cite Virtual Savings.) Last year, EMC acquired NuView rival Rainfinity for $90 million, and NetApp acquired Spinnaker for $360 million in 2003. (See EMC to Buy Rainfinity and NetApp Annexes Spinnaker.)

But EMC and NetApp sell NAS devices, making them more logical pursuers of file virtualization. Brocade has never been in the file server business, and CEO Mike Klayko says he does not intend to change that."We have no intention of getting into selling file servers or NAS devices," Klayko said today on a conference call to announce the deal. Klayko says Brocade will look to sell NuView software through OEM deals with NAS vendors -- he ticked off EMC, Hewlett-Packard, Hitachi Data Systems, IBM, NetApp, and Sun as possible OEM partners.

There could be conflicts with those vendors as well. Klayko says he expects NetApp will continue to sell StorageX although it is integrating Spinnaker technology into its operating system. EMC's Rainfinity Global File Virtualization competes with StorageX.

Brocade execs say they hope to retain all of NuView's 60 employees, including Rahul Mehta, a serial entrepreneur who has now started and sold four startups called NuView. Mehta will report to Brocade VP of product development Don Jaworski, at least until he gets the itch to start NuView No. 5. Mehta sold his previous companies to HP, Symantec, and CA.

NuView started shipping StorageX in 2002, and Klayko says NuView has more than 400 customers -- but he would not say how much annual revenue it generates. He says Brocade will develop new products based on NuView technology as part of its Tapestry family. Brocade execs consider NuView's software a good fit for the WAFS products that Brocade sells through an OEM deal with Tacit, because both technologies manage files and the software is based on Windows code.

Dave Raffo, Senior Editor, Byte and SwitchOrganizations mentioned in this article:

  • Brocade Communications Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: BRCD)

  • CA Inc. (NYSE: CA)

  • EMC Corp. (NYSE: EMC)

  • Hitachi Data Systems (HDS)

  • Hewlett-Packard Co. (NYSE: HPQ)

  • IBM Corp. (NYSE: IBM)

  • Network Appliance Inc. (Nasdaq: NTAP)

  • Sun Microsystems Inc. (Nasdaq: SUNW)

  • Symantec Corp. (Nasdaq: SYMC)

  • Tacit Networks Inc.

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