NetApp is buying Bycast, the little-known but likely most successful scale-out file storage company. Bycast has several hundred customers, many installed petabytes, leadership in a growing market segment – medical imaging – and a compelling value proposition.

What they didn’t have was market presence. Most of their sales came through OEM deals with IBM and HP, who rebranded Bycast’s software – the Brocade problem.

They also had the common Canadian reluctance to promote themselves. No marketing VP. What marketing efforts they made followed “big company” models – something few small companies can afford.

Their most effective spokesman was their CTO, co-founder and blogger David Slik. Why he got detailed to SNIA committees is a mystery.

The StorageMojo take
This is a brilliant move by NetApp – as long as they execute. They can’t afford another Spinnaker.

Tom Georgens has been putting his stamp on the executive team. What they do with Bycast will be a good first test.

The most interesting angle: Bycast’s replication and resiliency means you don’t need to back up a properly configured cluster. Which means you don’t need Data Domain. Hmm-m-m?

Courteous comments welcome, of course. I did some work for Bycast and I’m a fan of their technology.