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VMware plans to acquire Virsto Software, maker of a "storage hypervisor" that will be added to VMware's popular virtualisation lineup and licensed by EMC.

Virsto's software is designed to let enterprises virtualise their storage systems in the same way many have virtualised their servers using VMware. It works with the VMware ESX and Microsoft Hyper-V computing hypervisors, and Virsto claims it can cut the cost of storage per desktop by 70%.

The companies have signed a definitive agreement for the buyout, the terms of which were not disclosed yesterday. The deal is expected to close this quarter. VMware wants to buy Virsto as part of an overall plan to extend virtualisation to all elements of data centres, including computing, networking, storage and security.

Virtualisation began with pooling of server and desktop computing and is now expanding to include virtual networking and storage. Proponents, including Virsto and VMware, say storage virtualisation will bring the same benefits of flexibility and efficiency that many enterprises have gained by virtualising their computing. On its website, Virsto says server virtualisation has been accompanied by greater complexity and higher cost for storage, especially for virtual desktops, mission-critical applications and large-scale software development.

VMware already sells a vSphere Storage Appliance and offers storage virtualisation and management in the vSphere software platform. At EMC, Virsto's technology might find its way into many types of storage systems.