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NetApp buys Bycast for object storage

Two weeks after Dell revealed plans to develop an object storage system, NetApp today disclosed its object storage strategy by acquiring privately held Canadian vendor Bycast.

Bycast’s StorageGrid software is used mostly in medical archiving products through OEM deals with Hewlett-Packard and IBM. Bycast added support for clustered NAS, security partitions, chargeback and virtual servers to its basic archiving features, and began marking StorageGRID as a building block for private and public clouds. It lets NetApp compete with EMC’s Atmos object storage system designed for internal clouds, as well as provide storage for the growing medical archiving market.

NetApp’s press release today cited Bycast’s value for collaborative projects, specifically in vertical markets such as healthcare, cloud service providers, digital media, and Web 2.0 companies.

“Bycast extends our unified storage strategy and enhances our solution for shared storage infrastructure by adding new capabilities for global data access and mobility,” Manish Goel, NetApp executive vice president of product operations, said in the release. “The addition of Bycast’s products enables NetApp to offer our enterprise customers and service provider partners a complementary solution that enables them to efficiently build and manage a very large-scale global repository of data central to many IT-as-a-service offerings.”

It’s unclear if StorageGrid capabilities will be built into NetApp’s core storage systems or will be sold as a separate product, but the reference to extending the vendor’s unified strategy seems to indicate some integration. It also remains to be seen if NetApp will continue Bycast’s OEM deals. IBM is a close NetApp OEM partner, but HP is one of NetApp’s biggest competitors.

NetApp isn’t saying how much it paid for Bycast, but says it was a cash transaction.

Check out our SearchStorage story for me on this acquisition.