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NetApp to Acquire All-Flash System Start-Up SolidFire

For $870 million in cash

NetApp, Inc. has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire SolidFire, Inc. for $870 million in cash.

Founded in 2010, SolidFire is in all-flash storage systems built for the next-generation data center where simple scaling, set-and-forget management, assured performance and multi-tenancy, and cloud economic models are driving new market growth.

This acquisition will benefit current and future customers looking to gain the benefits of webscale cloud providers for their own data centers,” said George Kurian, CEO, NetApp. “SolidFire combines the performance and economics of all-flash storage with a webscale architecture that simplifies data center operations and enables rapid deployments of new applications. We look forward to extending NetApp’s flash leadership with the SolidFire team, products and partner ecosystem, and to accelerating flash adoption through NetApp’s large partner and customer base.”

With SolidFire, NetApp will now have all-flash offerings
that address each of the three largest All-Flash Array market segments:

  • For the traditional enterprise infrastructure buyer, the NetApp All Flash FAS (AFF) product line delivers enterprise-grade features across flash, disk and cloud resources.
  • For the application owner, the NetApp EF Series product line offers SPC-1 benchmarks with consistent low-latency performance and proven 6×9’s reliability.
  • For the next-generation infrastructure buyer, SolidFire’s distributed, self-healing, webscale architecture delivers seamless scalability, white box economics, and simple management. This enables customers to accelerate third platform use cases and webscale economics.

SolidFire is active in the cloud community with integrated storage management capabilities with OpenStack, VMware, and other cloud frameworks.
 
Both SolidFire and NetApp have deep technical, customer-centric cultures, which are focused on delivering innovations that give customers a competitive advantage,” said Dave Wright, CEO, SolidFire. “We look forward to enhancing NetApp’s position within the all-flash array market while helping NetApp and SolidFire customers and partners succeed.
 
Over time, SolidFire products will be incorporated into NetApp’s data fabric strategy, delivering seamless data management across flash, disk and cloud resources.

Following the close of the transaction, which is anticipated to occur in NetApp’s fourth quarter of its fiscal year 2016, subject to customary closing conditions, Wright will lead the SolidFire product line within NetApp’s product operations.

Comments

Rumor from a recent CRN report was exact concerning the acquisition of SolidFire by NetApp but not regarding the price, $1.2 billion rather than $870 million.

NetApp never was greedy in term of acquisitions, with only 16 in the history of the company, far from the 79 of EMC in storage. SolidFire is the highest paid firm after the 306 million paid to get Spinnaker Networks in 2003.

SolidFire got a total of $150 million in financial funding including:

  • $1 million in 2010
  • $36 million in 2011: with two rounds at $11 million and $25 million
  • $31 million in 2013 with Samsung Ventures
  • $82 million in 2014

Investors are Greenspring Associates, NEA, Novak Biddle Partners, Samsung Ventures and Valhalla Partners. For them, the founders and the company's shareholders, it's an excellent deal to get $870 million after investing $150 million.

NetApp is doing the same as other top competitors to try to be a big actor in fast growing all-flash array market: buying a start-up. EMC acquired XtremIO for $430 million, IBM bought Texas Memory for an unkown amount, Cisco, apparently also interested in SolidFire, got Whiptail for $415 million. Dell, HDS and HP preferred to design their own systems but are not considered as leaders in this sector. Note that Dell signed a reseller agreement with Solidfire.

At NetApp, FlashRay was a disaster and SolidFire, considered by Gartner as one if not the best all-flash array maker, will help as its own other products based on SSDs and released for the first time in 2013, are not invading the market.

NetApp seems to run SolidFire as an independent business and it's not sure that it will be running with NetApp ONTAP core OS.

SolidFire, currently one of the fastest growing storage company in the world, offers all-flash systems that can scale out from 35TB to 3.8PB in clusters from 4 to 100 nodes, with 10GbE network or 8/16Gb FC clients, and with guaranteed QoS. It delivers between 200,000 and 7.5 million IO/s to more than 100,000 volumes/applications within a single system. Storage management capabilities have been integrated with OpenStack, CloudStack, Flexiant, and OnApp frameworks.

NetApp was historical known as a company with excellent technology, that's why it didn't need to spend a lot of money for acquisitions like EMC. But time is changing. With an army of engineers, how a firm like that is not able to design a proper all-flash array with software and need to spend as much as $870 million to get it? It's also a factor of the current 8th consecutive quarter with sales diminishing year to year.

Known customers of SolidFire:
1&1 Internet
Automated HealthCare Solutions
BigAir Group
Brinkster Communications
California Public Utilities Commission
Calligo
CenturyLink
Clearview International
CloudSigma
Codero Hosting
Coly
Colt
Crucial Cloud Hosting
Databarracks
Datapipe
DRFortress
eBay
Elastx
Endicia
Excite Japan
ezVerify
Fair Isaac
Fico
GetCloudServices
Gigas Hosting
Hosted Network
iWeb Technology
Korea Internet Neutral Exchange
Korea Telecom
MercadoLibre
OnRamp
PayPal
Peak Hosting
QuoVadis
Richard Fleischman & Associates
RSAWEB
ServInt
Sungard
Synnex
Ultimate Software
ViaWest
Webhuset

Read also:
Top Fastest Growing Storage Companies in 2014
500% and more for SolidFire, SimpliVity and StorTrends
by Jean-Jacques Maleval | 2015.03.10 | News
Start-Up Profile: SolidFire
in all-SSD scale-out storage solution large enterprises
by Jean-Jacques Maleval | 2015.09.25 | News
NetApp To Make $1.2 Billion Bid for SolidFire - CRN
It could be announced this week.
2015.12.16 | Press Release

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