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Fujitsu Softek to buy Vixel's SAN Management Software Group

Fujitsu Softek will acquire Vixel's SAN management software group for an estimated $10 million.

Fujitsu Softek has taken another step toward leading the storage management pack by acquiring Vixel Corp.'s SAN Management Software Group for up to $10 million. The deal includes Vixel?s SAN InSite management software and its team of more than two dozen software engineers.

Under the agreement, Vixel will receive $5 million cash and another $5 million over the next four years based on sales of SAN InSite-based software products. Fujitsu Softek will also provide maintenance support for Vixel?s existing SAN InSite customers and allow Vixel to retain rights to the software to service existing customers.

Bill North, research director of Framingham, Mass.-based International Data Corp.'s (IDC) Storage Software Service said Fujitsu Softek is on the right track toward a complete storage management offering and added that Vixel's technology is on par with any other product in the industry for auto-discovering, configuring and managing the storage fabric.

Fujitsu Softek currently licenses Vixel's SAN management technology, but according to North, realized that owning the software was integral to its future as an independent software vendor.

Fujitsu recently licensed source code from virtualization-vendor DataCore Software Inc., and owning Vixel's technology, North said, gives Fujitsu one of the more complete software visions in the market. "I would put them in a fairly rarified atmosphere," said North.

IDC sees Hewlett-Packard Co., Compaq Computer Corp., Veritas Software Inc., EMC Corp., and Fujitsu Softek as the top five vendors when it comes to a storage management software strategy.

Equally as valuable to Fujitsu as the SAN InSite technology is the addition of Vixel's software engineers, which are hard to come by in an industry strapped for talent.

North said the group of 29 engineers acquired by Fujitsu would have otherwise been scattered into the wind and working for the competition.

"Guys who are interested in being top dog technologists in storage software are rare," he said.

Vixel is in the midst of reorganizing its business. The company is its focus will be centered on the embedded storage switch and rich media SAN markets.

Eric Sheppard, senior research analyst for IDC, said with Vixel's push into the embedded market it made little sense to keep its software business.

"In order for SAN InSite to be as valuable as it could possibly be it needed to be owned by a hardware independent company," said Sheppard.

Jim McCluney, president and chief executive officer of Vixel said the realignment of its operations takes it one step closer to becoming profitable.

The companies expect the deal to be done before the end of April 2002.

Let us know what you think about the story, e-mail Kevin Komiega, assistant news editor


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