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Acopia Files Away $20M

Acopia has picked up $20 million in funding, which its CEO sees as a declaration of independence for the file virtualization startup.

With most of its competitors cozied up to large storage vendors, Acopia CEO Chris Lynch says the new funding allows his firm to remain independent and makes it a better choice for virtualizing heterogeneous devices.

Acopia's ARX switches sit inband between servers and NAS systems and provide a global namespace that makes all the NAS devices appear as a single client to users. (See Acopia Ships Its Switch and Acopia Reaches Out.) Acopia and its competitors sprung up because NAS systems from market leaders EMC and Network Appliance did not support global namespace, making it hard to manage multiple devices.

NetApp and EMC have moved to fix the problem by acquiring file virtualization startups. NetApp paid $300 million for Spinnaker in 2003, and EMC plunked down $80 million for Rainfinity last year. Those products are still being integrated, and Acopia is counting on customers' reluctance to use the major vendors' wares for heterogenous support. (See NetApp Annexes Spinnaker and EMC to Buy Rainfinity.)

Switch vendors have also gotten into the game. Brocade acquired NuView for $60 million in March, and Cisco was the lead investor in NeoPath's $11 million funding round last month. (See Brocade Bags NuView and Cisco, NeoPath Make It Official.) Industry sources expect Cisco will OEM NeoPath's virtualization product.

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