Enterprise storage provider Hitachi Data Systems (HDS) yesterday acquired long-standing partner BlueArc Corporation, bringing BlueArc’s strength in Network Attached Storage (NAS) in-house. Rich Miller describes the deal as giving HDS “an ongoing play in the market for Big Data,” placing it in context alongside earlier acquisitions such as HP’s $2.4billion grab for 3PAR. David Vellante takes a look at the numbers, suggesting that HDS was a significant customer for BlueArc and that acquisition may have been the only alternative to an IPO at a bad time. Chris Mellor speculates on how much HDS spent (possibly $400m or more), before marking the end of an era; “With the acquisition the era of the stand-alone filer supplier comes to a close. Out of all the NAS start-ups, only NetApp has become an independent mature company. All the others have been acquired or crashed.” Consolidation in the enterprise IT market just keeps on coming. Who will be next?