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EMC's acquisiton of Mozy two months ago put the storage world on notice that the online backup market was maturing.
A pair of moves today by IBM and Hitachi Data Systems (HDS) confirms the trend.
IBM announced that it is acquiring Arsenal Digital Solutions, one of the oldest players in the online backup space, and HDS and Data Islandia announced the development of a unique 'green' archiving center in Iceland. CommVault also unveiled a data storage software as a service (SaaS) offering today, while Seagate added to its services story with the acquisition of an e-discovery company.
All this comes as IDC reports that storage hardware revenue growth continues to chug along at a 5 percent clip, half its growth rate from two years ago and the bulk of opportunities are coming in the small and mid-sized business market, one of the target markets for online backup services, along with consumers and small and home office users.
IDC research analyst Liz Conner said that "The growth of low-end networked storage is being fueled by an increased understanding and confidence among SMB users who are seeking more effective solutions to manage an increasingly complex and expanding set of requirements related to data storage."
The trend is fueling growth in technologies like iSCSI SANs and online backup services.
Nine-year-old Arsenal Digital is one of the oldest online backup firms, having survived the fallout from dot-com era storage service providers. It boasts 3,400 business customers, several of them Fortune 500 firms, and its reach exceeds 20 petabytes in 67 data centers on five continents. Partners include EMC, Hitachi, AT&T, Cisco, HP, Sun and Symantec, among others.
IBM won't say what it paid for the North Carolina-based firm, which it will combine with IBM Global Business Continuity and Resiliency Services (BCRS) and its 150 recovery centers worldwide.
Big Blue said it will make Arsenal solutions available worldwide through its BCRS services business, through Arsenals existing channel partners, including telecommunications providers, as well as direct through IBM.com and from select business partners.
IBM BCRS Vice President Philippe Jarre stated that "IBM's leading business continuity and resiliency services, combined with managed services from Arsenal, give IBM the most comprehensive range of information protection services, and provide clients the ability to back up and protect their information in a way that is integrated with their business continuity plan."
HDS Goes to Iceland
Hitachi and Data Islandia, meanwhile, launched what they claim is the "world's most environmentally friendly outsourced data archiving service."
Data Islandia has built facilities in Iceland with 100 percent green energy to offer international archival services. Using technology from Hitachi, Data Islandia manages the data for compliance, risk containment, governance and operational advantage. The facilities are powered completely by geothermal and hydroelectric energy.
"Organizations are focused on making their data centers more efficient, but virtualizing six-month old information, which is effectively digital toxic waste, is a very poor use of resources. Instead, they should be looking to completely remove this data from the corporate network," stated Sol Squire, executive member of the Board of Directors and CBDO for Data Islandia. "We offer an ideal solution, with our geographic, regulatory and environmental advantages combining to offer very stable long-term rates on archival storage."
The infrastructure's current capacity is a whopping 500 petabytes and the companies say there is no limit to either real estate or power availability.
The service's ambitions are global, with support services offered in European and East Asian languages, and is targeted at "multinational organizations with multiple data centers and complex data management requirements" in industries such as telecommunications, healthcare, government, high-performance computing and finance.
Data Islandia will use the Hitachi Content Archive Platform as the core digital indexing and archival platform, and will use Hitachi's flagship Universal Storage Platform V to store the archived data.
The two are also at work at some intriguing data mobility technology dubbed the "Data Scooter" and are launching a Web site devoted to it at DataScooter.com. Data Scooter appears to be an appliance capable of shipping as much as a petabyte of data between data centers, although officials declined to provide details of the offering.
Also today CommVault announced a program that allows its resellers and partners to offer managed data protection services to SMB customers, using CommVaults Simpana software suite as part of a packaged SaaS solution.
And Seagate said it has signed an agreement to acquire e-discovery firm MetaLINCS, which makes software that helps companies search large volumes of electronic data for legal and regulatory information. MetaLINCS will become part of the Seagate Services Group, giving the company "one-stop sourcing for archive, recovery and collection, review tools and services inclusive of EVault's Insight E-Discovery services."