Biggest Storage Acquisitions of 2010

With tech titans possessing big cash reserves, some big deals have taken place in the data storage sector.
The 2010 is a big one for storage acquisitions. Plus: at the end of this list, a prediction for the next big buy or a data storage vendor -- who's next?

UPDATED August 16, 2010 – I originally posted this Top 10 acquisitions piece last week, with EMC's acquisition of Greenplum in the #1 spot. Today's announcement that Dell plans to acquire 3PAR for a whopping $1.15 billion clearly catapults that deal into the #1 position. As such, here's my revised list of the Top 10 storage acquisitions of 2010, in ascending order:

This one probably wouldn’t have made the Top 10 list except for the fact that it’s Exar’s second storage-related acquisition in the last year, indicating that this relatively unknown vendor is up to something in the storage market.

The acquisition of Hifn last year put Exar in the storage optimization market with data deduplication, compression and encryption technology. Which put them into discussions that include Storwize (acquired by IBM, see below), Ocarina Networks (acquired by Dell, see below) and Permabit.

The acquisition of Neterion this year (reportedly for $10 million to $11 million) puts Exar in the 10GbE/FCoE adapter space, and might get them a place in conversations typically focused on vendors such as Emulex, QLogic, Brocade, Broadcom and Intel.

“We see a lot of synergy between Neterion’s virtual I/O technology and Hifn’s data compression, security [encryption] and data deduplication technologies,” said John Williams, vice president of Exar’s datacom and storage business.”

Interesting, but does an engineering-focused company have the marketing might to compete with the big boys? Well, Neterion OEMs include EMC, HP, IBM, Fujitsu and Hitachi, so the company at least knows how to play with the big boys.

See “Exar to acquire Neterion”

As with Exar, this one made the Top 10 list in large part due to the surprise factor: Few in the storage world had ever heard of SolarWinds, which specializes in network and applications management software.

Tek-Tools has for a long time specialized in storage resource management (SRM) tools, and SolarWinds plans to integrate Tek-Tools’ Profiler SRM suite into its Orion portfolio by the end of this year. Sounds like a good fit, but since when did any acquisition-driven integration project get completed on schedule?

SolarWinds paid $42 million for Tek-Tools. And if that seems steep, consider the fact that Tek-Tools partners and resellers include 3PAR, AdviStor, Agami, Bell Micro, Brocade, CA, Cambridge Computer, CDW, Dell, EMC, GlassHouse, the Harding Group, HP, IBM, Kisdata, LSI, the Microsoft Developer Network, MySQL AB, NetApp, Novell, PC Mall, Quantum, Red Hat, Siemens Business, Sun, Syncsort, Techmate, VMware and Xiotech.

See “SolarWinds acquires Tek-Tools for SRM”

Throughout the 1990s, Adaptec was synonymous with SCSI, and had a lock on the SCSI controller/adapter market. The company reached its heyday when it racked up revenues of about $800 million in fiscal 2000. But Adaptec didn’t see the winds of change blowing. PMC-Sierra acquired Adaptec for $34 million.

In addition to Adaptec’s technology and products, PMC acquired Adaptec’s extensive channel, where it is still strong in RAID adapters.

The interesting thing about this acquisition is that it puts PMC-Sierra in even more intense competition with arch enemy LSI. Now PMC will compete in the channel with LSI at the board level, whereas previously the battle was fought on the semiconductor front.

See “PMC-Sierra to buy Adaptec’s channel storage business”

Read the rest at InfoStor.

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