In a move experts say will level the playing field in the Linear Tape Open technology arena, Quantum Corp. has agreed to purchase Certance, a tape drive and data protection vendor based in Costa Mesa, Calif.
Under the terms of the agreement, Quantum, of San Jose, Calif., will purchase all of Certances assets, including Travan, DDS/DAT (Digital Data Storage/Digital Audio Tape) and LTO Ultrium-format technology products, complementing its current portfolio of DLTape drives, a DAT-72 autoloader and a disk-to-disk-to-tape appliance for small and medium-sized businesses.
Because Certances technology fits in the market space below where Quantums DX series operates today, its a particularly good fit, said Michael Peterson, program director of the Storage Networking Industry Association Data Management Forum and president of Strategic Research Corp., a Santa Barbara, Calif., storage research firm.
Most importantly, Quantums push into the LTO arena fills a hole in the companys product portfolio, said Bob Abraham, a tape industry analyst at Freeman Reports Inc., an Ojai, Calif., market research and analysis firm specializing in the storage industry.
"Now they have all of the bases covered, from entry level through the highest performance, highest capacity. They have something for everybody except for the enterprise, which is IBM and StorageTek territory," he said.
At the low end of the market, the acquisition positions Quantum to compete more directly with DDS products from companies like Sony, while the companys new LTO capability positions it to compete head-on with giants like IBM and Hewlett-Packard Co. The acquisition, Peterson said, puts the combined companies in a true leadership position.
"Acquisition of Certance was the absolute best business move Quantum could have made to regain its leadership position in the industries it serves," he said.
In addition to making Quantum the segment leader in terms of units shipped and dollar value, the acquisition now gives Quantum the right to claim that it is the manufacturer of all of the technologies it offers—something its competitors cant claim, Abraham said.
"While most of their competitors sell multiple technologies of tape, often they just purchase and resell," he explained. "For example, both HP and IBM resell some DLT and Super DLT technology, and IBM resells DDS technology." By being able to claim it is the manufacturer of all technology it sells, Quantum offers its customers a sense of one-stop shopping, which can be an important comfort factor, he said.
Although Quantum executives have not announced their future plans, Abraham speculated that the company will make limited hardware acquisitions in the future unless its something like disk subsystems or arrays. The next logical step, he said, might be to explore the software arena.
"While Quantum has some software capabilities like DLT Sage, it could choose to add some breadth or depth to that in the future," he said.
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