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Privately-owned super-NAS vendor BlueArc is letting it be known that it is on a roll. Of course it's only putting out the good news but, still, that's impressive: record third quarter revenues with the mid-range Mercury product selling well, 100 per cent quarter-on-quarter growth and a 20 per cent headcount increase.

The company says it is the leading platform for eDiscovery and is demonstrating an early version of its implementation of the parallel network file system (pNFS) industry standard at Supercomputing 2010. The EMC purchase of Isilon validates BlueArc's existence; general-purpose filers can't do as good a job with massive amounts of file data as specially architected clustered filers (Isilon), parallel systems from DataDirect and Panasas, and hardware-accelerated designs such as BlueArc's.

With HP having bought Ibrix, Dell Exanet, LSI OnStor, Overland Maxiscale, IBM having its SONAS product, and NetApp pressing ahead with ONTAP cluster mode, the potential future for BlueArc looks more and more like an IPO, unless HDS converts its BlueArc partnership into an acquisition. HDS looks to be the only realistic possible purchaser of BlueArc.

BlueArc hasn't said it's profitable. Without a view of BlueArc's numbers it's impossible to put a valuation on the firm but my abdominal estimation algorithm suggests some multiple of $100m but not more than ten, not unless BlueArc is doing crazy good. As total BlueArc funding is above $200m some might say an IPO is overdue. ®

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