Storage system firm Network Appliance Inc. purchased Spinnaker Networks Inc. on Tuesday in a move designed to bolster Network Appliance’s plans to offer storage grids.

Storage grids would allow companies to use their storage resources more efficiently by making storage that is distributed across multiple locations appear and act as one logical storage resource.

“The combined capability of the two companies dramatically accelerates our time to market to provide the storage grid vision,” said Suresh Vasudevan, Network Appliance’s senior director of software product marketing.

Network Appliance’s storage grid strategy will work with both storage area network (SAN) and network-attached storage (NAS) devices.

The all-stock deal for Pittsbugh-based Spinnaker is worth approximately US$300 million.

Spinnaker makes storage products targeted at Fortune 1000 companies and service providers. Some of Spinnaker’s customers include Industrial Light & Magic and the Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee.

Spinnaker’s expertise in storage virtualization and clustering multiple multi-node storage clusters is why Network Appliance pulled the trigger on the deal, said Network Appliance CEO Dan Warmenhoven in a statement.

Storage virtualization is getting a push from a variety of storage vendors ranging from switch makers such as Cisco Systems Inc., Brocade Communications Systems Inc. and McData Corp., to storage hardware and software manufacturers like IBM Corp., Hewlett-Packard Co. and EMC Corp.

Storage virtualization involves creating an abstract layer, including a universal file system, between storage devices and applications that access those devices.

The attraction of storage virtualization is that users aren’t tied to using specific storage devices. They can access and store data on any storage device located on a network, letting companies spread storage resources evenly across all their devices.

Network Appliance said it plans to continue supporting Spinnaker’s products and services. The company will roll Spinnaker’s SpinServer product line into the Network Appliance family and operate Spinnaker as an engineering and development site for Network Appliance.

Network Appliance is online at