Harmonic is acquiring video production infrastructure and storage provider Omneon for $274 million. They’d raised about $100M since their founding.

Omneon Video Networks is a specialized storage company that provides broadcast quality storage for digital media, along with the gear needed to convert video streams to bits. They do clustering, in their MediaGrid product, a sophisticated architecture that can handle a 7×24 beating.

Founded in 1998, venture-backed Omneon started offering storage in response to customer demand. They chose a commodity-based cluster and built their own storage software, MediaGrid, whose architecture hews to the post-array Google-style storage model:

  • No RAID – slices are replicated one or more times based on policy or demand
  • Single global namespace
  • Out-of-band meta-data servers manage content servers

Omneon’s content servers do more than serve content. They put their unused CPU power to work doing jobs like transcoding – translating content from one format like HD to iPhone-suitable QuickTime.

The StorageMojo take
Omneon is more than a storage company, but their storage made them a competitor to Isilon in the broadcast market. Harmonic is big in the rest of the video workflow, especially distribution in multiple formats. It looks like the 2 firms complement each other nicely.

Omneon was not a pure play storage company. But the fact that they were able to build a competitive storage product as an adjunct to their main business points up how low the barriers to entry are in scale-out storage.

Courteous comments welcome, of course. I’m still at EMC World. YottaYotta’s technology is front and center in the VPLEX product. More on that later.