Adaptec has announced it is buying a RAID storage business unit off IBM. The deal will see it license and acquire certain RAID intellectual property, RAID products and expertise from Big Blue and use it to to expand and improve on its own RAID products.

As part of the agreement, Adaptec will deliver RAID controllers to IBM for its eServer iSeries and pSeries servers. In fact, it will be the sole supplier of such products for the next three years. It will also license IBM's ServeRAID technology for use in its own PCI RAID and external RAID products. All this should garner about $150 million in new revenue opportunities over the next three years for Adaptec (all sales including IBM sales).

The deal builds upon the existing relationship between Adaptec and IBM that centres on data protection for IBM xSeries servers, although this time Adaptec will buy an IBM RAID engineering team that builds the components for its iSeries and pSeries servers, as well as components and adapters.

Robert N. Stephens, president and chief executive officer of Adaptec, said: "We are pleased to expand our collaboration with IBM even further to deliver next-generation RAID data-protection solutions for xSeries, iSeries and pSeries customers."

Another deal is coming up too. An Adaptec financial statement issued last month stated Adaptec "Expands Tier-One OEM Relationship with External Storage Products". The other party is undisclosed but the IBM RAID deal is not what is being referred to.

We have previously reported that Adaptec is building a product line encompassing external iSCSI SAN storage. A RAID capability is an intrinsic part of this. It's also expanding Fibre Channel storage lines, adding storage virtualisation through its Elipsan acquisition, and building SATA and SAS storage products.

Adaptec seems to be looking at supplying networked storage to both the mid-range enterprise and SMB markets. We expect it to build a NAS side to its product line as well as add Information Lifecycle Management capabilities.

Does the world need another SAN Disk array vendor? As the large number of smaller storage suppliers, currently, shipping direct-attach own-brand RAID arrays, move to IP and lower-cost Fibre Channel SANs they will, Adaptec hopes, want to buy product from an already trusted supplier of adapters and RAID products. Adaptec hopes it and its set of channel partners can successfully ride the wave of change from direct-attached to networked storage.