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F5 buys Acopia for $210m

Web traffic firm buys into the storage market

Security for virtualized datacentres

F5 Networks is wading into the storage market by spending $210m to acquire privately-held Acopia Networks. The company is paying cash for the entirety of the file-based virtualization firm.

F5 has previously focused on technology that speeds up web-based applications with its Big-IP gear. The Acopia purchase moves the company into the unfamiliar waters of virtual storage.

"This acquisition is highly complementary to F5's strategy of optimizing the application infrastructure from the core of the datacenter to the edge of the network," said F5 CEO John McAdam. "Acopia extends the Application Delivery Network's reach to include optimization of the data storage layer."

It remains unclear how F5 plans to absorb Acopia, and just how serious it is about butting heads with the likes of Cisco, Brocade and EMC. F5 exec Dan Matte said the company will continue to make Acopia products available as distinct devices, but F5's file virtualization features will be added into Acopia's WAN optimization products.

Historically, the company hasn't exactly been speedy about integrating technology that runs parallel to its own existing products. F5 has only recently spit out results from the $45m acquisition of Swan Labs two years ago.

The deal is expected to close on Sept. 14. In a conference call this morning, F5 said revenue from the acquisition should add $25m-$30m to the company's 2008 revenue. ®

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