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Don't Get Your Hopes Up

The week started with a bang, as Brocade followed a spate of 4-Gbit/s unveilings by sealing the purchase of file virtualization vendor NuView; EMC nailed down the purchase of security software maker Authentica; and backup player Atempo made its OEM deal with CDP startup Storactive a permanent arrangement.

Did we mention that EMC also released a new NAS management package based on the 2004 acquisition of Smarts technology? (See Brocade Acquires NuView, Atempo Swallows Storactive, EMC Acquires Authentica, and Brocade Bulks Up 4-Gig Gear.)

Great news, on the face of it. When a big, important storage vendor buys a hot startup, it encourages visions of new products with all sorts of fun combinations that make the lives of storage networkers everywhere easier.

    [Ed. note: You do want an easier life, don't you? See our latest poll if you've got issues.]

In truth, mergers may have more to do with the hard realities of the balance sheet than with ambitions to simplify customers' lives. Simply put, startups in key areas can add new channels of revenue, ones that feed a core services market without demanding more investment in commodity hardware.

Case in point: EMC took more than a year to issue its first product from the December 2004 purchase of Systems Management Arts Inc. (Smarts). While the result EMC's new IP Availability Manager for NAS – is intriguing, it falls far short of the grand management scheme EMC has touted. It isn't even integrated with EMC's own SAN management package. That's supposed to happen "later this year."

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