F5 acquires Attune technology

By Kevin Komiega

-- Application acceleration and file virtualization vendor F5 Networks has taken advantage of tight times by gobbling up the intellectual property of the now-defunct NAS and file virtualization company Attune Systems.

The financial details of the deal were not disclosed, but Rick Gillett, vice president of data systems architecture at F5, calls the transaction "non-material."

F5 has yet to announce how and when it will integrate Attune's technology into its product line. Gillett says there is potential for beefing up the company's management software.

"No final decisions have been made, but one logical outcome might be the integration of Attune's advanced file system discovery and reporting capability with the existing F5 Data Manager product," says Gillett.

F5 Data Manager, which debuted last year, is a software-based management platform that runs on Windows platforms and interfaces directly with all file storage devices and F5 ARX file virtualization switches. The Data Manager gathers file storage statistics and provides graphical reporting and trending functions, all of which is designed to help customers plan for future growth.

The Data Manager software interfaces with back-end file systems and the ARX switches to monitor data in both physical and virtual environments. Data Manager collects a range of statistics, including file type, age, size, and more, using an optional File System Inventory Module (FSIM). The software rounds up that information and generates cumulative reports across a virtual infrastructure.

Attune's flagship product is the Maestro File Manager FM5500 NAS virtualization appliance. The Maestro appliance provides a global namespace, allowing administrators to combine multiple physical volumes into one virtual volume. Maestro Policy IQ, the intelligence in Maestro File Manager, provides insight into server performance, capacity, and availability. It also has features for managing and moving file data across tiers. Data can be managed on a file-by-file basis, moving static files to lower-cost storage.

It remains to be seen which aspects of Maestro will find their way into F5's software and/or switches. Gillett believes customers will see benefits in the area of network-based data management.

"Leveraging our existing ARX and Data Manager solutions, the Attune intellectual property should allow F5 to deliver these benefits to our customers more quickly," says Gillett.

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Attune enters file virtualization arena

This article was originally published on February 13, 2009