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Big NAS Deal?

4:50 PM -- No acquisition after all, just a nice technology exchange and an OEM deal, coupled with a small equity investment.

This was the "big news" Hitachi alluded to late last week, and which threw expectant market observers. (See HDS, BlueArc in Big NAS Deal.) No matter. Perhaps following in the footsteps of the successful NAS alliance between Network Appliance and IBM, HDS and BlueArc are keeping it arms length, at least for now. (3PAR and OnStor were apparently in contention for an HDS nod, but alas...)

Hitachi's decision not to acquire is a prudent one, given that this high-end, high-performance NAS space can be described generously as an emerging market. High-performance and NAS? Apparently, this is one of the next big things in storage networking -- and something you can bet we'll be doing more due diligence on in 2007 in the Byte and Switch news lineup.

For now, there appears to be more in the way of plans than actual details about what the companies will do together or what customers can expect. Some re-branding of BlueArc gear is on the way. But how BlueArc's NAS heads fit into the HDS product line is an open question.

The same could be said for how HDS will make any meaningful inroads against NetApp and EMC, dogged competitors that control more than two thirds of the NAS market. Price? Features? Manageability? Any two of those could certainly turn this into a really big deal.

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