EMC acquires Prisa Networks

Not to be outdone by its competitor Sun Microsystems Inc., EMC Corp. has announced it too had acquired a privately held storage company: Prisa Networks Inc.

The Hopkinton, Mass.-based EMC acquired the company in a cash deal valued at approximately US$20 million. Last week, Sun had announced it had acquired Pirus Networks Inc. in a stock-for-stock transaction.

Prisa, like Sun acquisition Pirus, develops products that assist in the management of multi-vendor storage systems, a common goal shared by many storage system vendors and software vendors alike.

Since December 2000 San Diego-based Prisa has been selling VisualSAN Network Manager, a software product that discovers, manages, and monitors SAN devices, including storage systems, switches, and HBAs since December 2000. In March 2002, the company released Version 2.0 of VisualSAN.

According to EMC spokesperson Greg Eden, the acquisition of Prisa augments the company’s AutoIS (Automated Information Storage management) strategy for helping enterprises reduce management costs and complexity associated with multi-vendor storage environments.

Eden said the product will initially support EMC’s Clariion storage system and move down to the mid-range. “The goal is to have it help us deliver to the entry or mid-range SAN environment,” added Eden.

Eden explained the software contained similar functionality to EMC’s own SAN Manager product, but reiterated Prisa’s VisualSAN Network Manager was “optimal for the entry level.”

EMC’s deal follows Sun’s acquisition of Acton, Mass.-based Pirus last week. Pirus’ switch technology can handle traffic from many storage systems connected to a network, even if they were made by different hardware vendors.

According to Arun Taneja, a senior analyst at Enterprise Storage Group, in Milford, Mass., Sun paid US$160 million to acquire Pirus. A Sun spokesperson declined to confirm that figure or offer further details. The deal is expected to close by the end of the year, subject to standard regulatory approvals, Sun said.

In announcing the Pirus acquisition last Thursday, Scott McNealy, Sun’s CEO, chairman, and president, said Sun is ready to bolster its product portfolio by making further acquisitions. The company plans to make other buys to build out its network management framework dubbed N1, McNealy said during a speech at the conference.

“You’re going to see a lot of little and interesting technology acquisitions by this company in an opportunistic manner,” McNealy said. “It’s much better to go and buy now than it was two or three years ago. You can actually get something of value for your dollar.”

– With files from Ashlee Vance, IDG News Service