Dell to acquire storage vendor Ocarina Networks

The Silicon Valley startup makes deduplication technology, a hot commodity in storage

Dell announced Monday that it plans to acquire Ocarina Networks, a maker of hardware and software designed to reduce the amount of storage capacity enterprises need, for an undisclosed sum.

Ocarina makes appliances and software that perform data compression and deduplication on unstructured data such as images and e-mail. Those steps help to reduce the number of redundant bits so the data can be stored on less hard disk space, generating savings of space, power and other resources in data centers. Ocarina says its products can free up between 30 percent and 75 percent of a customer's storage capacity. The company's technology will complement Dell's EqualLogic enterprise storage arrays, Dell said.

Deduplication is in high demand among storage administrators as the amount of raw data they are asked to keep in storage escalates. Last year, EMC and NetApp scrambled to acquire deduplication pioneer Data Domain, with EMC winning out in the end by offering US$2.1 billion.

Dell is attempting to branch out from its PC and server roots to become a data-center vendor with a broad scope, similar to Hewlett-Packard or IBM. It sells a range of enterprise storage products, including internally sourced gear such as the EqualLogic line and rebranded equipment.

Ocarina was founded in 2007 and is based in San Jose, California. The acquisition is expected to close by the end of this month, and Dell has no plans to move Ocarina's operations. Dell said it intends to invest in additional engineering and sales capability.

In a press release announcing the deal, Ocarina CEO Murli Thirumale said his team has plans to offer "end-to-end" storage optimization that includes deduplication of primary storage, backup, replication, migration and tiering.

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