NetApp Buys Decru to Link Security, Storage

With its $272 million acquisition, Network Appliance aims to benefit from the accelerated blurring of the lines between storage and security.

Placing its network-attached storage reputation into largely unfamiliar security waters, Network Appliance agreed to purchase privately held Decru on Thursday for about $272 million in cash and stock. The acquisition is expected to close in October.

Decru Inc., a Redwood City, Calif.-based provider of security functions tailored toward storage environments offering encryption, authentication, compliance and data-protection features, will operate as an independent business unit separate from NetApp once the purchase closes, said Dave Hitz, founder and executive vice president of NetApp (Network Appliance Inc.), based in Sunnyvale, Calif.

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Hitz said Decrus strong interoperability and partnership play with a number of key NetApp storage competitors—such as EMC Corp., IBM and Hewlett-Packard Co.—is far too valuable to jeopardize by assimilating Decrus storage portfolio within NetApps technology stack.

"Decrus products currently interoperate with products from any storage vendor, and we are absolutely going to continue supporting those other vendors. We will have a Chinese wall to allow Decru salespeople to work with other storage vendors," Hitz said.

"This isnt to say we wouldnt do acquisitions where we integrate tightly; we did that with Spinnaker. But with Decru, we cant maintain that opportunity if we turn around and say [Decru technology] is part of a filer. In order to achieve that goal, we have to keep it independent."

Founded in 2001, Decru has received more than $45 million in venture financing from Benchmark Capital, Greylock, New Enterprise Associates, In-Q-Tel and others. Decru has already enjoyed a close technology partnership with NetApp. Most recently, the companies last week jointly announced an integrated turnkey platform to enable secure processing and storage of credit card data in accordance with Visa and Mastercard PCI (Payment Card Industry) security standards.

According to Hitz, an accelerated blurring of the lines between storage and security functionality and concerns is simultaneously occurring as customers push for consolidation, bringing together their storage into a centralized storage pool to lower costs and streamline management—thereby creating a primary security target.

"The more you replicate data to protect it for compliance the more copies there are for people to target. Decru allows us to simplify data management and at the same time have security as part of that," Hitz said.

Through its Decru DataFort family of appliances, Decru provides a single storage security architecture supporting NAS, SAN (storage area network), iSCSI, tape and DAS (direct attached storage) environments.

Hitz said Decrus encryption and key management capabilities will mesh nicely with NetApps focus on improved data management and data protection.

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