Storage-device and software company EMC (NYSE:EMC) isn't making high-profile acquisitions the way software firm Oracle (NASDAQ:ORCL) has, but it has been an active consolidator, especially in the privately held space. Tim Beyers recently detailed the company's purchase of private company nLayers -- a move that he considered a significant development.

First, on Monday, EMC announced that it's acquiring Massachusetts-based ProActivity Software Solutions, a privately held provider of content-management business software. The financial terms weren't disclosed. Like nLayers and Kashya, a previous purchase, ProActivity has research-and-development operations based in Israel. And then in a second deal announced yesterday, the company announced that it has acquired software testing firm Akimbi Systems. Again, the price was not mentioned.

Management is proving adept at ferreting out successful bolt-on acquisitions. Though most of the private deals individually are not expected to have a significant impact on EMC's operations or financial results, collectively they are complementing current product offerings that include the CLARiiON and Symmetrix systems. Plus, they carry the potential for a home-run product offering.

The company is also expanding in India. Just yesterday, it announced it plans to double its investment there to $500 million over the next four years and grow its staff to 1,600 employees by 2008.

EMC is a key player with a leading market share in the storage sector. The software business is extremely profitable after initial development costs have been completed to create software and related systems, and as a result, the more established companies in this space throw off large amounts of free cash flow. (Just check out the margins of the top firms, such as Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) and Oracle). But since EMC is also a device and product company, similar to Network Appliance (NASDAQ:NTAP), its operating margins and returns on capital tend to come in lower than those at pure-play software firms.

As consumers and businesses alike try to deal with the proliferation of electronic data that needs to be both stored and retrieved, not to mention the level of security needed for protecting certain information, EMC has good exposure to some compelling growth opportunities in storage. For other companies operating in the storage space, including software and device exposure, check out Emulex (NYSE:ELX), Network Appliance, QLogic (NASDAQ:QLGC), or Seagate (NYSE:STX). Right now, I prefer software firms such as Oracle or Microsoft, though EMC is also on my watch list.

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Fool contributor Ryan Fuhrmann has no financial interest in any company mentioned. The Motley Fool has an ironclad disclosure policy.