Netgear Makes NAS Move

Tuesday May 15th 2007 by Clint Boulton
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Seeing growth potential in storage, Netgear buys NAS specialist Infrant to accommodate SMBs.

Netgear recently padded its storage networking gear portfolio by acquiring Infrant Technologies for $60 million in cash. The networking vendor wants Infrant's ReadyNAS network attached storage (NAS) appliances, which provide RAID data protection for small businesses looking to sock away a lot of data without breaking the bank.

The current Infrant product line includes ReadyNAS NV+, a four-bay desktop device, and ReadyNAS 1100, a four-bay rack-mount chassis system. ReadyNAS systems include a proprietary network storage processor, Linux-based RAIDiator operating system and X-RAID technology, which trigger automatic RAID volume expansion as you add additional drives.

Netgear already offers storage networking hardware with SC101 Storage Central, a machine based on Zetera's micro SAN technology. But while Storage Central stores home users' photos, files and documents for up to five PCs, said CEO Patrick Lo, Infrant's ReadyNAS systems will scale from six to 50 computers, making them ideal for SMBs.

Lo added that he and his team expect to use the Netgear brand, as well as domestic and international supply chain relationships and distributor base, to expand distribution for Infrant's products.

By expanding from the home office to SMBs, Netgear is responding to a market need that, IBM, HP and several other vendors are trying to address; SMBs may not be big companies, but they still may have enterprise-class data needs to fill.

While the deal is a cash exchange for $60 million, Infrant shareholders may receive a total additional payout of up to $20 million in cash over the three years following close of the deal if specific revenue targets are reached.

The deal is expected to close in the second quarter, with Infrant President and CEO Paul Tien joining Netgear as vice president and general manager for storage products. Infrant's 34 full-time employees will also join Netgear.

Adapted from internetnews.com.

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