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Big Deal For Storage

Administrators benefit from single view of data across appliances
Network Appliance Inc., a manufacturer of data-storage devices, last week said it plans to buy Spinnaker Networks Inc., a startup with customers that include digital-visual-effects company Industrial Light & Magic, for $300 million in stock.

The deal will give Network Appliance access to Spinnaker's distributed-file-system technology, which provides a single view of information contained in multiple storage appliances. Currently, each Network Appliance storage device has its own file system, which prevents administrators from seeing all of a particular company's files in one place. The same is true for NAS devices from EMC Corp., Network Appliance's top competitor in network-attached storage.

Network Appliance's acquisition should improve management of the NAS environment, says Jamie Gruener, an analyst at the Yankee Group. Network Appliance CEO Dan Warmenhoven expects the deal to break even within two quarters.