Hitachi Data Acquires BlueArc in Big Data Deal

Hitachi Data Systems has acquired network attached storage (NAS) specialist BlueArc Corporation in an all cash transaction, the companies said today. The deal consummates a long partnership between the two companies, and provides Hitachi Data Systems (HDS) with an ongoing play in the market for Big Data.

It also continues a consolidation in the storage industry over the past several years, which has seen EMC buy Data Domain ($2.1 billion) and Isilon Systems ($2.2 billion), HP buy 3PAR ($2.4 billion) after a bidding war with Dell, which subsequently acquired Compellent Technologies for $820 million.

BlueArc sells clustered NAS systems for storing and managing digital content and unstructured data, which Hitachi described as “the fastest growing segment of the storage market.” The company’s products use a scalable file system that allows for multiple storage appliances to be managed as a single pool. The company had filed plans for an IPO in June.

Data Centers as ‘Information Centers’

HDS said the acquisition will help it executen its strategy to transform traditional data centers into information centers – where customers can seamlessly store and access all data, content and information.

“The exponential growth of digital content, particularly unstructured content, has had a dramatic effect on all businesses, including the requirements on IT,” said Jack Domme, CEO, Hitachi Data Systems. “Over the past 5 years, BlueArc has been an integral part of our strategy to help customers store and manage unstructured data of all types, such as video, email, medical imaging, scientific data and more. Bringing BlueArc into the Hitachi family will enable us to better serve customers with more tightly integrated technologies, broader capabilities and deeper expertise globally. Our combined efforts will deliver cost-effective infrastructure cloud and content cloud solutions that customers can take advantage of as they look to further transform their data centers.”

Builds on Existing Relationship

HDS and BlueArc have had an existing OEM agreement for about 5 years. “Joining forces with Hitachi Data Systems is a win-win situation for our employees, our partners, our customers and our shareholders,” said Mike Gustafson, CEO, BlueArc. “The strength of the long-standing partnership between the two companies spanning product integration, customer momentum and cross-functional collaboration is the foundation for this union.”

Analysts agreed that there was clear logic to the deal.

“HDS sells huge stuff to huge shops, some of the biggest on the planet,” wrote Steve Duplessie of Enterprise Strategy Group. “But they really only sell block.  BlueArc, running at about $100M in revenue, sells huge NAS stuff to big shops who need big things – and need them fast.  They are not a bulk provider any more than HDS is – if you have an app that needs outrageous (fill in the blank – performance, throughput, uptime, etc.) and it’s ‘at scale’ then you need one of these guys. Thus, the marriage is logical.”

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About the Author

Rich Miller is the founder and editor at large of Data Center Knowledge, and has been reporting on the data center sector since 2000. He has tracked the growing impact of high-density computing on the power and cooling of data centers, and the resulting push for improved energy efficiency in these facilities.

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