IBM Grows Data Management Skills With Princeton Purchase

Newly acquired Princeton Softech is a good fit with IBM's Information On Demand initiative, an official says.

LAS VEGAS—IBM closed the deal to buy Princeton Softech in September, making it another appendage in a body of acquisitions Big Blue has made around its Information On Demand initiative.

But to hear those at newly acquired Princeton Softech tell it, the purchase was not a case of a larger company gobbling up a smaller vendor, but a calculated move they believe will extend IBMs ability to provide data privacy and data management functionality to its customer base.

"I think when IBM engages customers, what we want to be able to do is say, Look, are you looking to put in a platform for data privacy? … Are you going to be able to address data growth in a consistent fashion?" said Al Smith, executive vice president of engineering at Princeton Softech, in an interview Oct. 16 at IBMs Information On Demand conference here. "Then theres complementary technology pieces, what bits of ours should go into different product offerings."

While as an IBM company, Princeton Softech, of Princeton, N.J., products will undergo integration with IBMs offerings, Smith said Princeton will continue to provide a heterogeneous platform to its customers, many of whom continue to feel the stresses of managing larger amounts of data and regulations.


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"I think theres a new awareness because of a bunch of catalyst things going on in the marketplace, [such as] privacy, compliance, different regulations in different countries, and all of a sudden [organizations are] realizing how hard it is to align all those data capabilities in a consistent way, enterprise-wide, across all the different heterogeneous platforms, across all the different applications—and thats really the basis of what Princetons platform is about," he said.

"One of the things we help people do," Smith said, "is take data out of these older systems [and put it] into application-neutral format—maybe an archive file, maybe XML, whatevers appropriate—so they can spin down the app and the infrastructure they have to support it but still have access to the data for whatever regulatory requirements they have. Thats another area that I think that today we fill a very nice hole in the IBM portfolio for those things."

IBM, of Armonk, N.Y., expressed a keen interest in Princetons data-archiving abilities, and the purchase may force competitors to follow suit, said Gartner analyst Carolyn DiCenzo. She predicted the acquisition of Princeton Softech will be the beginning of consolidation in the data archiving market, and major database vendors will increasingly acquire companies like Princeton Softech.

"Oracle has been claiming that users didnt need archiving—they could just use partitioning," she said in an e-mail interview. "Their users have been telling them that they are wrong. Now their biggest competitor has an archiving solution. They need to respond."

Forrester Research analyst Noel Yuhanna said the purchase also extended IBMs data management capabilities around data masking and data security.

"IBM wants to do heterogeneous data sources/connectivity and integration, [and] this is a good example of how it extends their position," he said.


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