Dell Acquires Application-Recovery Provider AppAssure

By Chris Preimesberger  |  Posted 2012-02-24 Print this article Print

AppAssure specializes in providing what it claims to be "near-instant and 100 percent reliable" bare-metal data center application recovery.

Dell, forging ahead with its strategy of morphing into more of a cloud infrastructure and services company, on Feb. 24 acquired Reston, Va.-based backup and replication software maker AppAssure Software.

Terms of the transaction were not released by Dell. The deal marks the company's twelfth acquisition in the past two years and the first under the leadership of new software division President John Swainson, a former CEO of CA Inc. who joined Dell late last year.

Swainson, also a former executive at IBM, Visa and Cadence Software, is credited with refreshing and turning around CA's fortunes after the company had fallen on hard times in the last decade. He heads up a reconfigured software division for Dell, a clear indicator of how serious the Austin, Texas-based corporation is about changing its business model. 

Six-year-old AppAssure will plug an important hole in Dell's data center portfolio because it specializes in providing what it claims to be "near-instant and 100 percent reliable" bare-metal data center application recovery in case of a power outage, human error, or other unexpected IT or environmental failure.

AppAssure protects a company's entire application infrastructure. Dell had nothing this powerful on its shelves to reconnect data center servers with other virtualized systems and cloud services.

"AppAssure will complement all of Dell's existing storage products, and it fits perfectly into its€”and VMware's€”virtualization platforms," Pund-IT analyst Charles King told eWEEK. "As it integrates into everything over time, AppAssure gives Dell clients another option within its storage offerings.

"Dell continues to evolve into a major player [in full-service IT] as a one-stop shop for data center building and rebuilding. It's safe to say that although this is [John] Swainson's first acquisition for Dell, it won't be his last."

Dell's Long-Range Plans

"Looking ahead, what will be interesting to watch from the trenches will be how the Dell field and partner channels talk about data protection by 2013," Enterprise Strategy Group data center systems analyst Jason Buffington wrote in his blog.

While Dell€™s channels are definitely evolving around solution sales, those discussions start with understanding the customers' problems and then lead to talking about which parts of the Dell portfolio can help solve them, Buffington said.

"Where the wholly owned (AppAssure) solution doesn€™t completely meet the needs of their customer, the OEM'ed CommVault and Symantec solutions will likely solve broader enterprise problems ... So Dell customers will still get what they need, but some will likely discover and acquire AppAssure when they wouldn€™t have even known who they were before €“ that is the power of joining the Dell family,"  Buffington said.

Dell said it plans to retain AppAssure's 230 employees.

Dell has been on an acquisition tear in recent months. Key data center-related additions include Compellent (multi-protocol auto-tiered enterprise storage, 2011), RNA Networks (memory virtualization, 2011), Force10 (data center networking, 2011), Ocarina Networks (deduplication and compression, 2010) and Scalent (virtualization management software, 2010).

Chris Preimesberger is Editor of Features and Analysis at eWEEK. Twitter: editingwhiz.

Chris Preimesberger Chris Preimesberger was named Editor-in-Chief of Features & Analysis at eWEEK in November 2011. Previously he served eWEEK as Senior Writer, covering a range of IT sectors that include data center systems, cloud computing, storage, virtualization, green IT, e-discovery and IT governance. His blog, Storage Station, is considered a go-to information source. Chris won a national Folio Award for magazine writing in November 2011 for a cover story on and CEO-founder Marc Benioff, and he has served as a judge for the SIIA Codie Awards since 2005. In previous IT journalism, Chris was a founding editor of both IT Manager's Journal and and was managing editor of Software Development magazine. His diverse resume also includes: sportswriter for the Los Angeles Daily News, covering NCAA and NBA basketball, television critic for the Palo Alto Times Tribune, and Sports Information Director at Stanford University. He has served as a correspondent for The Associated Press, covering Stanford and NCAA tournament basketball, since 1983. He has covered a number of major events, including the 1984 Democratic National Convention, a Presidential press conference at the White House in 1993, the Emmy Awards (three times), two Rose Bowls, the Fiesta Bowl, several NCAA men's and women's basketball tournaments, a Formula One Grand Prix auto race, a heavyweight boxing championship bout (Ali vs. Spinks, 1978), and the 1985 Super Bowl. A 1975 graduate of Pepperdine University in Malibu, Calif., Chris has won more than a dozen regional and national awards for his work. He and his wife, Rebecca, have four children and reside in Redwood City, Calif.Follow on Twitter: editingwhiz

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