NetApp is planning to acquire Bycast, a storage virtualisation vendor, in an attempt to improve its object-based storage capabilities.

"Object-based storage is a new and emerging approach to storing and accessing data based on object names and rich metadata that describes the content in greater detail, which simplifies the task of large-scale object storage while improving the ability to quickly search and locate data objects," NetApp said in an announcement of the acquisition.

NetApp has a definitive agreement to acquire the company in an all-cash deal expected to be completed next month. The amount of the acquisition was not disclosed. Bycast is a 10-year-old private company with more than 250 customers.

Bycast's software is "designed to manage petabyte-scale, globally distributed repositories of images, video, and records for enterprises and service providers," NetApp said.

Bycast describes its StorageGRID software as a storage virtualization product that turns multiple storage devices across geographically dispersed locations into a single pool of storage. The product is capable of automated disaster recovery, migration of data from one generation of hardware to another, support of multi-vendor storage environments, and integration with enterprise applications with industry standard interfaces like CIFS, NFS and HTTP.

NetApp's acquisition luck wasn't great last year, when it signed an agreement to purchase deduplication vendor Data Domain for $1.5 billion, but was ultimately outbid by EMC, which purchased the company for $2.1 billion. 

Whereas EMC is no stranger to big mergers, NetApp has historically focused on smaller acquisitions, such as Bycast, to add capabilities to existing product lines. NetApp said Bycast will help it expand into markets for digital media, Web 2.0, healthcare, and cloud services providers.