Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) has announced it will acquire Nimble Storage for $1.2bn - around $1bn to buy the company, and $200m buying out the unvested share options of Nimble executives.
The deal will help HPE to drive into the all-flash storage array market, which is growing at a rate of about 17 per cent per year, according to analysts IDC.
Nimble brings with it more than just all-flash storage. Its particular twist is predictive software that, it claims, can speed-up flash storage still further, while helping organisations to better manage their storage assets. InfoSight Predictive Analytics, for example, can automatically detect as many as 90 per cent of all issues within a customer's infrastructure, according to Nimble, and can resolve 85 per cent of them without user intervention.
As such, HPE says that it will incorporate Nimble's InfoSight Predictive Analytics platform across its storage portfolio.
"Nimble Storage's portfolio complements and strengthens our current 3PAR products in the high-growth flash storage market and will help us deliver on our vision of making hybrid IT simple for customers," said HPE CEO Meg Whitman.
She continued: "This acquisition is exactly aligned with the strategy and capital allocation approach we've laid out. We remain focused on high-growth and higher-market segments of the market."
Nimble was founded in 2007 and achieved revenues up by 25 per cent to $402m in its last fiscal year. It floated on the New York Stock Exchange in December 2013.
When V3 sister's site Computing spoke to Ajay Singh, vice president of product management at Nimble Storage, in September 2015, he questioned the value of big IT industry mergers for both users and shareholders.
Talking about the Dell merger with storage giant EMC, he said: "Dell has always been known as the 'Wal-Mart of IT' - making IT cost-effective, efficient, cheap. It squeezes every bit of margin that it can, but it doesn't innovate. They've never created anything innovative."
He continued: "If you consider Dell's past acquisitions, none have been massive: EqualLogic, Compellent, vRanger. And the core teams have left shortly after the acquisitions. EMC is by far Dell's largest acquisition; it's enormous. Based on the history and culture of the company, people are concerned whether there will be continued investment in developing new products."
The history of big deals in the IT industry is patchy, at best, he added, citing Oracle's acquisition of Sun Microsystems, the DEC-Compaq-HP combination, HPE's acquisition of Autonomy (when it was HP) in 2011, and Oracle's acquisition of Siebel.
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