Deal Widens Adaptec Scope

Platys acquisition gives company storage-over-IP expertise for SANs, Fibre switches, NAS gear

Adaptec Inc. strengthened its role in the storage connectivity market with its $150 million acquisition this month of Platys Communications Inc.

By buying the Santa Clara, Calif., company, Adaptec will receive expertise in the storage-over-IP niche, specifically for SANs (storage area networks), Fibre Channel switches and NAS (network-attached storage) hardware, Adaptec officials said.

It was by a lucky turn of events that the companies hitched together, a Platys official said.

Platys, planning a launch next month of its Vega and Northstar IP storage connection software, publicly sought funding.

Meanwhile, Adaptec was seeking IP storage connection technology.

With the acquisition, Platys operations will be folded into Adaptecs, and its staff will focus on such technology as driver software development, hardware integration and vertical market products, the latter due by the second half of next year.

Customers are currently beta testing Platys products but havent yet been named.

Platys was also a prime choice for Adaptec because of its IP protocol acceleration technology, its scalability up to 10G-bps speed and numerous uses beyond storage-over-IP connections such as storage virtualization, security and vertical market potential, said Adaptec Chief Operating Officer Bob Schultz.

The acceleration functionality is especially important because TCP/IPs generic roots mean that its easy to implement and interoperate with, but at the expense of processor overhead, Adaptec officials said.

Platys also gives Adaptec about 60 new engineers.

"Weve looked [at] and talked to a lot of companies. Weve also looked at doing it in-house. What interested us was their timeline," Schultz said.

That timeline accelerates Adaptecs original plan by nine to 12 months, he said.

Marc Staimer, an industry analyst and president of Dragon Slayer Consulting, in Beaverton, Ore., said the acquisition is a win-win deal for both companies. "What makes this an interesting acquisition is that Platys is definitely a leader in the hardware side of the industry. [Adaptec] can now go after the iSCSI market in a way that they couldnt do before. They can eat their own" customers, Staimer said.

Not even rivals such as IBM, Cisco Systems Inc., Intel Corp. and Alacritech Inc. will have the same level of hardware sophistication that Adaptec gains through Platys, he said.

However, there is a risk involved if iSCSI fails to take off, he added.

Schultz said that although Adaptecs storage connectivity puzzle is now essentially complete, the company still has much work to do, such as ensuring that its forthcoming Platys-based solutions remain nonproprietary.

A PlugFest event later this month will be co-sponsored by Adaptec and the Storage Networking Industry Association, of Mountain View, Calif., Schultz said.