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The storage industry kicked the year off with an acquisition and while a small one it is a signal of the impact that next generation storage companies like Starboard are having on the market.
Imation announced that it is acquiring Nexsan. Nexsan has been around for a while and pulled back their IPO a few years ago. It is certainly not a very high value deal for Nexsan at 1.5x 2011 revenues. The bulk of Nexsan’s 11k installations are SATA Beast and SATA Boy disk systems and JBODs and it has been principally seen as a vendor of disk drive enclosures. Imation has been mostly an archive tape cartridge provider trying to move into storage systems with their acquisition of the ProStor RDX Intellivault product over a year ago.
In 2012 Nexsan had tried to move upmarket with the delivery of a new unified storage system incorporating solid state drives built on top of Oracle ZFS. Unlike Starboard, they did not own the core platform software and patented IP required to deliver and sustain innovative enterprise-class unified hybrid storage systems. This has clearly contributed to Nexsan seeking an exit strategy. Imagine having to be at Oracle’s mercy on storage software feature enhancements of your storage OS? That’s what ZFS-based unified storage vendors like Nexsan and Tegile are dependent on.
Imation will merge Nexsan into their securities business according to announcement articles, so it will be interesting to see how that will play out in the market.