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Acquisition expands Adaptec storage plan

The maker of cards that attach computers to networks acquires Platys Communications for about $150 million in an effort to expand into the storage network market.

Adaptec, a maker of cards that attach computers to networks, has acquired Platys Communications for about $150 million as part of an effort to expand into the market for storage-specific networks.

The acquisition, announced Monday, gives Adaptec Platys' chips used to power switches for a newer type of storage network using conventional Internet Protocol (IP) computer networking. Current special-purpose storage networks generally use a faster but more complicated standard called Fibre Channel, but most companies in the storage industry are moving to embrace IP-based storage networks.

One key standard in this new world of IP-based storage networks is iSCSI, an adaptation of the existing SCSI standard used to communicate with storage devices such as hard disks. iSCSI sends SCSI commands over IP networks.

Milpitas, Calif.-based Adaptec already has produced prototype iSCSI adapter cards to let servers communicate with iSCSI storage devices. With the Platys acquisition, the company will also be able to sell chips for making iSCSI networking switches that shuttle messages from one device to another.

Platys iSCSI switch chips can communicate at speeds up to 10 gigabits per second, Adaptec said. Platys' iSCSI chips are used by "some pretty big players," but spokesman Ed Rebello declined to say which ones.

Several existing storage networking companies are potential customers, including computing giants such as Hewlett-Packard, which are trying to expand into the switch market.

The acquisition, expected to close this quarter, was for about $150 million in stock and cash, Adaptec said. Platys, based in Santa Clara, Calif., was founded in 1997.