Storage firm NetApp is to acquire flash storage specialist SolidFire in a move intended to bolster the firm's portfolio with all-flash offerings targeting scale-out storage in the data centre and at cloud service providers.
NetApp, estimated to be the second largest global storage firm behind EMC, confirmed that it has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire SolidFire for $870m. The transaction is expected to close during the fourth quarter of NetApp's fiscal 2016, which ends in April.
SolidFire is one of the new generation of storage startups that have sprung up during the past several years to challenge the incumbent suppliers with new architectures and approaches designed to meet the challenges posed by the cloud and the growing volumes of data being generated by the web.
The firm develops all-flash storage arrays aimed at "the next-generation data centre" where simple scaling, set-and-forget management, assured performance and multi-tenancy, and cloud economic models are driving new market growth, making the firm an attractive choice for NetApp to bolster its own line-up.
"This acquisition will benefit current and future customers looking to gain the benefits of web-scale cloud providers for their own data centres," said NetApp chief executive George Kurian.
"SolidFire combines the performance and economics of all-flash storage with a web-scale architecture that radically simplifies data centre operations and enables rapid deployments of new applications.
"We look forward to extending NetApp's flash leadership with the SolidFire team, products and partner ecosystem, and to accelerating flash adoption through NetApp's large partner and customer base."
The intention is that SolidFire products will be incorporated into NetApp's data fabric strategy to enable seamless data management across flash, disk and cloud resources. SolidFire's current chief executive, Dave Wright, will continue to lead the SolidFire product line within NetApp's operations, the firm said.
"We look forward to enhancing NetApp's position in the all-flash array market while helping NetApp and SolidFire customers and partners succeed," Wright said in a statement.
The move is just the latest in a series of acquisitions of flash storage specialists by traditional storage vendors, as customers began to see the need for flash to boost speeds in the data centre, while the price of flash-based storage continues to narrow the gap with traditional disk-based architectures.
"The all-flash array market is not a niche market - it is displacing spinning disk at an exponential rate, with no sign of slowing down," Wright commented.
It also comes at an interesting time for the storage and IT industries in general, as Dell looks to assimilate EMC and its storage portfolio, which may spur further market consolidation during 2016.
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