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Oracle buys Pillar, Microsoft loses virtualization guy: News in brief

Oracle fills its storage hardware gap with Pillar Data Systems acquisition; virtualization evangelist David Greschler leaves Microsoft; and the feds bust a major cybercrime ring.

Oracle acquires Ellison venture Pillar Data Systems
Oracle is buying Pillar Data Systems, a privately held data storage company founded six years ago, with $150 million of Oracle CEO Larry Ellison’s money.

 Pillar’s Axiom product is a modular storage area network (SAN), which also includes built-in quality of service features. These features place data on disks so that higher-priority data can be accessed first and fastest. According to Oracle’s press release, Pillar has 600 customers in 24 countries.

While Pillar also offers network-attached storage access to its array, the focus on SAN, including Fibre Channel, fills a gap in the Oracle storage hardware portfolio, with the Sun storage line mainly focused on Ethernet- and file-based storage running on server hardware. Sun had OEMed high-end SAN systems from Hitachi Data Systems, but that relationship was discontinued after the acquisition by Oracle.

The transaction is structured as a 100% earn-out with no up-front payment, meaning payments are triggered by hitting earnings targets. So theoretically, if Oracle makes no money from Pillar, it would not pay for the company. The negotiation of the deal has been “led by an independent committee of Oracle’s Board of Directors,” according to Oracle, but “net net, this is happening because Larry’s involved,” said Jeff Matthews, general partner for RAM Partner, a Greenwich, Conn., based hedge fund.

This acquisition of more hardware follows news on Oracle’s earnings call last week that hardware revenues were down 6% for its fiscal fourth quarter. 

Microsoft loses virtualization chief
Virtualization guy David Greschler left Microsoft within the last two weeks.

Greschler, who was Microsoft’s director of virtualization and cloud computing, is now CEO of PaperShare, a sort of social networking, information-sharing site for virtualization and cloud computing professionals. PaperShare’s co-founder is Douglas A. Brown, of the virtualization site

Greschler was the co-founder of Softricity, an application virtualization vendor acquired by Microsoft five years ago. During his Microsoft tenure he helped establish Hyper-V as a player in the server virtualization market.

Feds nuke scareware ring
Federal agents this week broke up two international cybercrime rings that allegedly wrought nearly $75 million in losses to computer users.

On Wednesday, the U.S. Department of Justice and FBI said they seized more than 40 computers and servers as well as bank accounts as part of Operation Trident Tribunal. Two Latvians were arrested. One of the  groups  allegedly sold more than $72 million in fake antivirus software over  three years.

Another group allegedly used a malicious online ad to disseminate rogue antivirus products, the agencies said.

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