Hewlett-Packard is to spend USD $360 million in cash to buy storage virtualization company LeftHand Networks.

The company covers two areas currently receiving a lot of attention – allocating storage for virtualized servers and the using Ethernet for storage networks.

LeftHand Networks’ solutions enable midsize companies and remote offices or branches of large corporations to easily and cost-effectively protect critical business data.

The company’s software allows a user to create a storage “cloud” connected via iSCSI, an Ethernet standard rather than the proprietary Fibre Channel networking that dominates the storage industry.

The software could run on IBM and HP servers.

Founded in 1999, LeftHand Networks is privately held and headquartered in Boulder, Colorado.

It has 215 employees and more than 500 resellers and distributors worldwide. The company has more than 11,000 installations across 3,000 different customers.

Dave Roberson, senior vice president and general manager, StorageWorks Division, HP, said the acquisition of LeftHand Networks significantly expanded HP’s storage portfolio.

"Customers need a faster, less complex and more economical route to storage networking to better protect their critical business data,” he said.

The transaction is subject to certain closing conditions and is expected to be completed in HP’s first fiscal quarter of 2009.

Following completion, the business will be integrated into the HP StorageWorks division within the Technology Solutions Group at HP.

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