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EMC to buy storage simplification company

Rainfinity sells a type of virtualization product that's meant to ease differences between various types of file-storage systems.

EMC has agreed to acquire Rainfinity, a company with a product designed to shield customers from some complexities of storage systems, EMC plans to announce Wednesday.

Rainfinity sells a type of virtualization product that's meant to ease differences between various types of file-storage systems. Specifically, the software virtualizes filenames for network-attached storage systems.

EMC declined to detail terms of the acquisition but said it paid less than $100 million in cash for the San Jose, Calif.-based company. The acquisition is expected to be completed by the end of August.

The storage giant has sold hardware systems for years, but recently it's been focusing more on software. Storage software is a growing market, according to analyst firm IDC.

EMC plans to run Rainfinity as a separate business unit under Howard Elias, EMC's executive vice president of marketing and technology, spokesman Greg Eden said. Rainfinity has about 60 employees.

Virtualization in general increases flexibility by breaking a hard link between one computing technology domain and another. In the case of Rainfinity, the company's RainStorage technology breaks the hard link between the name a computer uses to access a file and the file itself. That, Rainfinity argues, makes it easier to bridge storage systems using Unix, Linux and Windows file-storage standards or to move files between storage systems.

Rainfinity sells its virtualization technology on a server with a mainstream Intel or Advanced Micro Devices processor.

Rainfinity's software performs for network-attached storage, or NAS, a similar job to what EMC's Invista does for higher-end storage area network, or SAN, storage systems.

The company's customers include Apple Computer, AT&T, Bank of America, Bayer, Dresdner Bank, Qantas Airways and Qualcomm. EMC already sold the company's products.