F5 Files Away Acopia

And then there was one.

F5 Networks on Monday said it will acquire Acopia Networks, leaving Attune Systems as the last standalone player in the file virtualization space, as EMC, NetApp, Brocade and Cisco have swallowed up the rest (see File Virtualization Heats Up).

F5 will pay $210 million to add file virtualization and management to its application optimization product portfolio. F5 said it expects the deal to add $25 million to $30 million to its annual sales next year.

“This acquisition is highly complementary to F5’s strategy of optimizing the application infrastructure from the core of the data center to the edge of the network,” F5 CEO John McAdam said in a statement. “Acopia extends the Application Delivery Network’s reach to include optimization of the data storage layer.”

F5 officials said on a conference call that Acopia’s product impressed them because of the level of customer satisfaction with it. The company has about 100 customers (see File Virtualization for Dummies).

Analysts on the conference call wondered if F5 can successfully merge its networking products with storage, and one noted that Cisco nixed NeoPath’s product soon after acquiring it.

Greg Schulz, founder and senior analyst at StorageIO, told Enterprise Storage Forum that the deal could put Attune in play, with the likes of HP, IBM and Dell as potential buyers. NAS vendors such as BlueArc and ONStor also provide some file virtualization capabilities, as does HSM vendor Moonwalk, among others, he said.

Schulz said it remains to be seen how serious F5 will get about storage.

“The question that comes to mind is if F5 is serious about getting into storage and NAS-specific to compete with Brocade, Cisco and EMC, among others, or if this will simply be a point product solution in the F5 lineup,” he said.

The deal is expected to close in mid-September.

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Paul Shread
eSecurity Editor Paul Shread has covered nearly every aspect of enterprise technology in his 20+ years in IT journalism, including an award-winning series on software-defined data centers. He wrote a column on small business technology for Time.com, and covered financial markets for 10 years, from the dot-com boom and bust to the 2007-2009 financial crisis. He holds a market analyst certification.

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