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McData & Riverbed: A Rumored Pair

Twenty-two months after Cisco acquired Actona and nine months after Brocade bought a piece of Tacit, switch vendor McData is getting into the wide-area file services (WAFS) game.

Sources say McData and Riverbed Technologies will unveil an OEM arrangement later this month for McData to rebrand and sell Riverbed's Steelhead appliances. (See Riverbed Fords WAN/WAFS Divide and Riverbed Extends Family.)

The potential arrangement makes sense. As remote sites proliferate, storage and networking vendors are increasingly interested in WAFS and WAN optimization products that streamline data delivery to those sites. (See Remote Access Advances.) The market for products like Riverbed's that bridge WAFS and WAN optimization has been rife with acquisitions and partnerships -- and McData has been on the sidelines.

Riverbed would neither confirm nor deny the deal, and McData did not return calls for comment by press time.

The would-be twosome are Johnnies-come-lately. Cisco spent $82 million for Actona and added another WAFS startup, FineGround, for $70 million last May. (See Cisco Acts on Actona and Cisco Chomps FineGround.) Also last May, Brocade invested $7.5 million for a stake in Tacit and a product reseller deal. (See Brocade Invests in Tacit.) Network switch vendor Juniper Networks bought startup Peribit for $337 million last April. (See Peribit Deal: More to Come.) And Riverbed signed a deal last May with storage vendor Hewlett-Packard to use its software in HP's WAN accelerator product. (See HP Upgrade Features OEM Crowd.)

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