Don't close the book on 2015 just yet. NetApp is acquiring SolidFire, a Boulder, Colo.-based provider of all-flash storage systems, for $870 million to fill out its enterprise flash product line, the companies announced yesterday. The deal is expected to close during NetApp's fiscal year 2016 fourth quarter ending April 29.
"This transaction complements our already-strong all-flash array portfolio, positioning us as a leader in the rapidly-growing all-flash array market and the only provider who can enable customers to build all-flash data centers" said George Kurian, CEO of NetApp, during a Dec. 21 investor conference call. With SolidFire in tow, NetApp expects to serve all of the three major all-flash array market segments.
For organizations seeking to give their traditional storage environment an SSD-powered boost, the company offers its NetApp All Flash FAS (AFF) arrays. NetApp EF Series hardware is geared toward enterprises that require snappy business application performance. Finally, SolidFire's systems will be targeted at webscale operators that are taking a more modern, cloud-like approach to outfitting their data centers.
"SolidFire combines the performance and economics of all-flash storage with a webscale architecture that radically simplifies data center operations and enables rapid deployments of new application," said Kurian in a statement. "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."
SolidFire counts some major brands among its customers, including eBay, PayPal, and SunGard. For CEO Dave Write, the deal is somewhat bittersweet. "While leaving our path as a stand-alone company was a difficult decision, the opportunity afforded by NetApp's industry leadership, innovative technology, broad distribution, deep partner network, and strong customer relationships was too significant to pass up," he blogged.
The deal could help fourth-place NetApp (after EMC, HP and Dell) reverse recent market-share declines. During the third quarter, the company saw its sales dip to $651 million, a decline of 12.8 percent year-over-year, according to International Data Corporation's (IDC) latest Worldwide Quarterly Disk Storage Systems Tracker data.
Meanwhile, the market for enterprise flash storage hardware remains on a tear.
"The total All Flash Array market generated $626.2 million in revenue during the quarter, up 60.8 percent year-over-year," observed IDC. "The Hybrid Flash Array segment of the market continues to be a significant part of the overall market with $2.4 billion in revenue and 26.5 percent market share."
Pedro Hernandez is a contributing editor at InfoStor. Follow him on Twitter @ecoINSITE.