Brocade to acquire switch maker Rhapsody

Arming itself for an anticipated battle with Cisco Systems Inc., Brocade Communications Systems Inc. yesterday announced its intention to acquire start-up Rhapsody Networks Inc.

The stock deal is valued at $175 million and is expected to close in January. The transaction will give Brocade a new class of multiprotocol switches that can run network-based storage applications such as storage virtualization, an area in which the company lacks expertise.

"My concern with Brocade had been that they needed more intelligence in their ports," said Arun Taneja, an analyst at Enterprise Storage Group Inc. in Milford, Mass. "The rules of the game had changed. I think this is a wonderful acquisition for Brocade and the industry."

In a statement, Greg Reyes, Brocade's chairman and CEO, said Rhapsody's technology and engineering team will help Brocade accelerate the next phase of the SAN market's evolution.

Brocade expects to offer the new switches, with full interoperability with Brocade's SilkWorm family of Fibre Channel switches, in the second half of next year, said Jay Kidd, Borcade's director of product marketing.

Kidd said the switches are available today to software developers from Brocade and had been available for some time from Rhapsody.

Rhapsody had been working with various partners, such as StorageAge Networking Technologies Ltd., FalconStor Software Inc. and Veritas Software Corp., which had begun developing software that would run on Rhapsody's storage application directors rather than on the individual host servers.

Unlike traditional Fibre Channel switches, the new class of switches promises to centralize storage applications within the SAN itself, rather than running on the host or the storage systems.

Cisco is also building an intelligent storage switching platform with technology gained in its August acquisition of Andiamo Systems Inc. (see story).

Cisco's acquisition of Andiamo was the company's foray into the Fibre Channel switch market. Along with the acquisition in August, Cisco also introduced Andiamo's products to the market under the MDS 9000 family.

Brocade intends to take on an undetermined number of Rhapsody's 110 employees at the Fremont, Calif.-based company to finish building the platform. Kidd explained that the offices will eventually be consolidated at Brocade's San Jose headquarters.

This story, "Brocade to acquire switch maker Rhapsody" was originally published by InfoWorld.

Copyright © 2002 IDG Communications, Inc.

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