Today, network vendor F5 Networks announced that they will acquire Acopia for $210 million in cold hard cash. Sounds like a rich price, especially for an emerging vendor with about 100 customers, but I see several reasons why this makes good sense for F5. Acopia has a proven technology for global namespace virtualization and non-disruptive policy-driven file migration capabilities that is well liked by their mostly Fortune 1000 customers, and they are winning head-to-head deals against storage giants EMC and Brocade. With the rise of centralized file storage and IP based SAN’s, networking vendors are going to be more involved in the storage conversation going forward. F5 already has traction in WAN optimization, which has a strong storage and DR use case, but this opens the door to more of a direct presence in a growing area of storage and sets them up nicely to have a bigger role in storage networking more generally. While it just so happens that most of Acopia’s competitors have already been acquired, NeoPath, NuView, and Rainfinity by Cisco, Brocade, and EMC, respectively, there are a lot of compelling aspects of the Acopia product which may make F5 say in the long run that they saved the best for last.
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