With its acquisition of Storwize, IBM in effect answers a move by another Tier 1 data storage hardware maker, Dell, which just bought Storwize competitor Ocarina Networks.
As had been rumored for months, IBM on
July 29 added another storage-related company to its acquisition list-its
fourth in three years-with the announcement that it will buy storage
optimization specialist Storwize.
Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.
With the deal, IBM in effect answers a
similar move by another Tier 1 storage hardware maker, Dell, which bought
Storwize competitor Ocarina Networks
on July 19.
Storwize's software appliance sits at the very gateway of data coming into an
IT system, compresses files of all types by up to 80 percent and presents them
to servers for deduplication and processing. This process increases storage
capacity from the get-go, cutting requirements for power, cooling and storage
hardware in a typical data center.
The company's RACE (Random Access Compression Engine) is "based on the
industry-standard compression algorithm and uses Storwize's patented technology
for real-time data compression without any performance degradation," CEO
Ed Walsh said on a conference call to media and analysts.
Storwize's appliance works with all standard network-attached systems,
including IBM's N series and SONAS
(scale-out NAS), Walsh said, in addition to non-IBM
NAS systems from EMC, Hewlett-Packard,
NetApp and others.
Storwize's real-time compression is designed to complement IT shops "already
using data deduplication, thin provisioning and other storage efficiency
technologies," Walsh said.
"With Storwize, IBM is rewriting the
story on storage," Greg Richardson, storage analyst at Technology Business
Research, wrote in an advisory. "IBM's
acquisition ... points to shifting demand in the storage industry and a
shifting perspective for IBM.
"Customers are increasingly focusing on leveraging storage utilization
tools to help improve the efficiency of the storage they already own, leading
large vendors, such as IBM, to shift their
portfolios toward offerings that provide this functionality. With the integration
of Storwize into its storage portfolio, IBM
is pulling the focus away from the capacity capabilities of its storage
offerings and pointing customer to the increased utilization, flexibility and
cost savings that a storage appliance can add."
Businesses now looking at storage differently
Storwize points to a shift in the way businesses are using storage, Richardson
"Customers are seeking value by turning to functional, integrated
solutions. The rigid lines between hardware, software and services are
increasingly blurring, with customers focusing more on solving their business
problems than the details of that solution's delivery," Richardson
TBR recently reported that more than 50 percent of business customers had
purchased an integrated IT appliance in the last 12 months, "demonstrating
that customers are finding value in the functionality of their hardware
investments, rather than simply performance capabilities," Richardson
Block-level compression is on the Storwize road map for later this year, Walsh
Storwize, based in San Jose, Calif.,
currently has about 100 customers across a range of industries that include
energy, manufacturing, finance, insurance, telecommunications and cloud
services. Current users include Mobileye, Polycom Israel,
Shopzilla and Sumitomo Mitsui Construction.
bought storage system maker XIV
in January 2008 and deduplication
in April 2008. Perhaps not coincidentally, XIV,
Diligent and Storwize all have research and development facilities in Tel Aviv,
Brian Truskowksi, IBM general manager for
System Storage and Networking, said following the Storwize integration, IBM
will have employed about 250 storage software developers in the Tel Aviv area.
IBM also acquired
business intelligence for storage with NovusCG
in October 2007.