Sun Microsystems took a bite out the storage market Monday when it announced plans to acquire HighGround Systems. Compaq then said it would work with both Sun and HighGround on standards related to storage area networks (SANs).
US-based HighGround makes data storage-management applications and will join Sun's back-end lineup in a deal valued at approximately $US400 million. Sun offered a stock-for-stock deal expected to close by the end of March 2001. The agreement still hinges on regulatory and HighGround shareholder approval.
HighGround will become part of Sun's Network Storage organisation, reporting to Janpieter Scheerder, executive vice-president at Sun.
Compaq jumped into the fray later Monday, saying it plans to work with Sun and HighGround to promote SAN standards and drive interoperability between the three companies' products. Compaq holds an equity stake in HighGround dating back to a deal in December 1999. The PC maker has also licensed and worked with HighGround on numerous SAN products.
Sun and Compaq now hope to use HighGround as a common link for work on various storage projects, according to a statement issued by the companies.
Sun officials look for HighGround's storage experience to help advance its NetEffect program. Sun has long promoted always-on, ubiquitous Internet computing, and hopes to profit from the Net with a strong back-end presence.
Sun is scheduled to hold a press conference Tuesday to outline some further initiatives related to its NetEffect effort.