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NetApp Buys Storage Specialist Bycast

NetApp is buying British Columbia-based Bycast, a privately held object-storage developer, which will give NetApp access to object-based storage.

“Object-based storage is a new and emerging approach to storing and accessing data based on object names and rich metadata that describes the content in greater detail, which simplifies the task of large-scale object storage while improving the ability to quickly search and locate data objects,” NetApp said Wednesday, in annnouncing the acquisition.

Bycast makes StorageGRID, an advanced storage virtualization software product that turns multiple storage devices, across geographically dispersed locations, into a single pool of storage – referred to as a storage grid. The technology is used to build storage systems that encompass petabytes of data. Currently, StorageGrid is sold through two OEMs, HP and IBM.

IBM offers StorageGRID in its Grid Medical Archive product. HP has a similar Medical Archive product. NetApp says it will determine whether it will continue the existing Bycast partnerships as it works through the closing of the transaction. The deal is expected to close in May 2010, subject to closing conditions.

NetApp already provides connectivity and protocols for Fibre Channel, iSCSI, NFS, SIFS and FCoE (Fibre Channel over Ethernet) storage technologies, but had lacked any type of an object-based storage offering.

The purchase of Bycast will give NetApp the ability to sell storage grid solutions to cloud service providers, as well as key vertical markets, such as digital media, health care and financial services companies. What’s more, object-oriented storage is a growing market segment, especially since there continues to be rapid growth in storage needs for business data in all its forms, including data files, backups of files, data chunks and multimedia content. Examples include the storage of medical records (documents, images and graphics, as well as backups) and long-term archiving of various types of data files, ranging from documents to business video to communications (VoIP, e-mail, IM and other conversations).


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