Editor's Note: Storage is a keystone of IT, and this move consolidates HP's position in the industry.

In a move to bolster its enterprise storage offerings, Hewlett-Packard on Friday announced an agreement to acquire IBRIX. The privately-owned company offers enterprise-class file-serving software that includes data protection, high-availability features, and data-management services for extreme scale-out, cloud and high-performance computing.

HP has discovered a pain point among customers with large-scale, data-intensive application environments: Storage performance often becomes a bottleneck for their work flows. IBRIX's solutions, among others in a growing Network Attached Storage (NAS) marketplace, addresses that pain point.

"Customers need highly scalable storage solutions that efficiently and cost-effectively manage massive amounts of information," said Jeff Hausman, vice president of unified storage in the HP StorageWorks division. "This acquisition expands our portfolio to better support the needs of this market segment. In addition, IBRIX's highly scalable software leverages industry-standard hardware, allowing customers to fully maximize their existing investments."

Growing NAS Market

IBRIX's solutions scale to tens of petabytes so customers can gain control of data growth and address application performance challenges. For example, the advanced data-management capability of IBRIX's Fusion software suite allows customers to add capacity as their data or performance needs grow.

Adding IBRIX's software to its portfolio strengthens HP's competitive position in the emerging market of scale-out and high-performance computing storage, cloud storage, and fixed-content archiving.

According to Gartner, 2008 was a year of healthy growth for the midrange and high-end NAS market. The market grew 18 percent in the first three quarters of 2008, compared with the same period in 2007.

By HP's measure, this market is growing at a compound annual rate of 20 percent per year, which is faster than both the NAS and total external storage markets when compared to the percentages in the IDC Worldwide Quarterly Disk Storage Systems Forecast.

A Natural Fit

IBRIX and HP have been partners for three years. IBRIX's software is currently available with HP StorageWorks storage area networks (SANs), HP ProLiant servers, HP BladeSystems, and HP ProCurve Ethernet switches and management software. The combination of IBRIX's storage software with HP's business-technology portfolio offers customers a full suite of products and services from design, transformation and management of corporate data centers to the most extreme scale-out environments.

IBRIX is also partners with HP rivals Dell and IBM. IBRIX has made its mark on the storage industry with 175 enterprise customers, including AOL, Disney, JPMorgan Chase, and Random House. And in March, Gartner positioned IBRIX in the visionaries quadrant for midrange and high-end NAS solutions.

"Joining forces with HP is a natural fit for our customers, resulting in an enhanced storage solution that scales to meet their data growth," said IBRIX CEO Milan Shetti. "The unique combination of IBRIX's file-serving solutions with HP's portfolio of products and services enables customers to lower the cost of scale-out architectures while easing the process of storing, accessing and moving critical data."

The transaction is expected to be completed within the next 30 days. The business will be integrated into the HP StorageWorks division. The value of the transaction was not disclosed.