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NetApp buys SteelStore from Riverbed

US$80 million for Riverbed, a better hybrid backup story for the Blue Staple

NetApp has extricated Riverbed from some nasty Whitewater rapids that threatened to drag it under and pummel it on the rocks below.

The big blue staple rode to the rescue by buying its SteelStore product line for U$80 million in cash.

SteelStore is Riverbed's re-branded Whitewater cloud storage backup appliance technology. It includes dedupe and compression and encryption. Riverbed has just given up on it, partly and probably as a result of being aggressively assaulted by Elliott Management, the very same activist investor that has its hooks into EMC with a VMware sell-off strategy.

NetApp will use SteelStore to offer enterprises' cloud-integrated storage a way "to securely and efficiently back up their data to both private and public cloud environments."

Jonathan Kissane, NetApp SVP, chief marketing officer and general manager of its Cloud Business, said in a prepared quote that "The SteelStore product will expand our portfolio and support our customers' hybrid cloud initiatives by integrating cloud storage as an option for backup and archiving their business data" to whichever cloud option they choose.

Backup to the cloud is becoming either server-centric with backup software/agents running there, or storage array-centric, leaving no place for standalone cloud gateway vendors, like Riverbed, to offer the functionality. As part of NetApp, SteelStore, NetApp claims "customers will be able to overcome vendor lock-in and the management costs of their current backup environments."

Riverbed CEO and chairman Jerry Kennelly put the best wrapper on things, saying; "The decision to divest the SteelStore product line reflects Riverbed's commitment to focus on businesses and opportunities which both leverage our core competencies and allow us to deliver the best solutions in the application performance infrastructure market for today's hybrid enterprise."

"The acquisition is a very logical extension to NetApp, a leader in data management and storage, and allows NetApp customers to extend existing backup, archive, and disaster recovery to the cloud."

NetApp expects that the SteelStore product will be available from it during its fiscal third quarter of 2015. Meaning the first calendar quarter of 2015. ®

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