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IBM has made its first storage acquisition of the year, snapping up Israeli clustering startup XIV for a rumored $350 million.

Although IBM will not disclose how much it paid for XIV, Israeli news outlet Globes values the deal at somewhere between $300 million and $350 million.

XIV's flagship product is its Nextra solution, a block-based system that clusters arrays built from standard components such as Intel processors and SATA drives. The startup has developed software to tie this hardware together using standard Ethernet switches.

The Nextra solution contains up to 1280 SATA disks and up to 1.3 Pbytes of storage capacity, according to XIV. By developing its own set of caching algorithms, the startup claims to offer higher performance levels than Fibre Channel-based storage systems.

"It will let us address emerging workloads like Web 2.0 and digital media," says David Vaughn, marketing manager for IBM storage.

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