NetApp closing Haifa development center

NetApp to close Haifa development center

Shmulik Shelah9 Dec 08 14:39
Network storage solutions provider NetApp Inc. (Nasdaq: NTAP) is set to close its Israeli development center in Haifa, which has 60 employees. The center is based on start-up Topio, which NetApp acquired in 2006 for $160 million in cash.

The following article on the purchase of Topio was published on 11/08/2006. Times certainly have changed.

NetApp Grabs TopioDrops $160 million,
following EMC’s recent data protection pickupsNetwork Appliance moved to beef up its data protection software today by acquiring replication startup Topio for $160 million. (See NetApp Pockets Topio.)

Topio is NetApp’s answer to EMC’s $153 million pickup of replication and CDP startup Kashya last May. (See EMC Coughs Up for Kashya.) EMC plunked down another $165 million on data de-duplication vendor Avamar last week. (See EMC Picks Up Avamar.)
Topio’s Data Protection Suite (TDPS) enables replication between different vendors’ hardware, a capability NetApp plans to use to let customers replicate and migrate data from EMC, Hewlett-Packard, and Hitachi Data Systems arrays to its own. ……

Apparently, NetApp’s management sees an opportunity to grow a promising product line. “We can accelerate the growth of this technology,” Rogers says. “What’s most important is the development team. They come from the IBM mainframe world, and they’re good at doing efficient wide area replication.” Rogers says NetApp can put more resources into sales and developing future releases of the product that Topio would be able to on its own.

Regarding the value of Topio, one source with knowledge of the company says it was generating “a few million dollars” in revenue each quarter, mostly through a partnership with IBM Global Services, which is likely to continue under NetApp’s management. Topio had $21.1 million in funding over three rounds, with the last round of $8 mllion coming in April of 2005. (See Topio Taps $8M.)

NetApp paid a lot,” says the source. “But they may have been feeling the pressure after EMC got Avamar.”
NetApp expects the deal to close in December. Rogers says Topio’s 60 employees, including founder and CEO Yoram Novick, will be offered jobs. NetApp will retain Topio’s R&D site in Haifa, Israel, and the employees in Topio’s Santa Clara, Calif., office will move to NetApp’s Sunnyvale office.

I wonder what happened to the promise of the technology, as it does not look like any employees were added in the last two years to the operations in Haifa.

UPDATE — 12/11/08
NetApp discontinues replication app December 9th, 2008 by Dave Raffo
NetApp today quietly pulled the plug on its SnapMirror for Open Systems (SMOS) heterogeneous data replication software, acquired from startup Topio for $160 million in 2006.

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