M&A Flurry Will Affect the Storage Market

An outbreak of M&A points to key trends in storage networking

January 23, 2008

3 Min Read
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IT companies are in the midst of an ongoing wave of consolidation that will ultimately affect how storage managers do their jobs.

In recent weeks, the pace of mergers and acquisitions has quickened in and around the storage market, including the following transactions, listed in order of most recent first:

  • Microsoft Buys Calista: Today. Microsoft's purchase of this desktop virtualization vendor for an undisclosed amount is just the latest of several desktop virtualization transactions involving big-name vendors. Read on.

  • VMware Buys Thinstall: January 15. Thinsall virtualizes applications. VMware's bid to buy them for an undisclosed fee signals VMware's intention to buttress its own desktop virtualization wares.

  • Rocket Software Buys Arkivio assets: January 8. This deal, for an undisclosed sum, put an end to the troubles of the data classification startup Arkivio. But it's unlikely that Rocket, which specializes in big-ticket business intelligence systems, will let Arkivio's products die on the vine. It plans to sell them as is for the foreseeable future.

  • Microsoft Buys FAST: January 8. Microsoft plans to pay a whopping $1.2 billion for this publicly held search company, which is OEM'd by CommVault, EMC, and Permabit, among hundreds of others.

  • NetApp Buys Onaro: January 3. NetApp's planned buy for an undisclosed sum will put the well-known SRM vendor's software under the umbrella of NetApp's Storage Management and Integration Software division.

  • IBM Buys XIV: January 2. News that Big Blue bought the Israeli clustering startup founded by an ex-EMC bigwig for a rumored $350 million was the big first storage consolidation story of the year.

Looking at these transactions, it's tough at first to find the common denominator. But it's there. All of the above deals involve technologies designed to streamline the management of corporate data.

Desktop virtualization, clustering, storage resource management, data classification, search: Each of these technologies is key to managing the growing amount of stored data. And the amounts paid in the transactions mentioned show how eager major players are to add these functions and features to their lineups.

Note too that nearly all of the above, with the exception of IBM's XIV buy, are software deals. For years, we've been told that software is the future of storage networking and management. It sure looks like that prediction is borne out by the preceding items.These are just the major deals affecting the storage market. There has been a slew of other recent transactions, including Oracle's agreement to buy BEA for $8.5 billion and Sun's planned purchase of MySQL for $1 billion. These too are software buys that may enhance or add to storage wares in years to come.

It's more than likely that more activity will follow. After all, the year 2007 closed with an upsurge in M&A, and ongoing efforts to support customers' demands for consolidation and better management aren't going away. Macroeconomic woes will only increase these demands.

Expect more of the same in the ever-volatile storage market.

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  • IBM Corp. (NYSE: IBM)

  • Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT)

  • Network Appliance Inc. (Nasdaq: NTAP)

  • Oracle Corp. (Nasdaq: ORCL)

  • Rocket Software Inc.

  • Sun Microsystems Inc. (Nasdaq: SUNW)

  • VMware Inc.0

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