Contact: Scott Denne
IBM snags object storage specialist Cleversafe for a foothold in an increasingly important niche in enterprise storage. Despite its age and size – founded in 2004 and with 210 employees – the target was still a relatively early company. As we recently noted, Cleversafe had taken the long view of the object storage opportunity – that it would take 100 engineers at least five years and more than $100m in funding, which it raised, to have a viable product. In that time, the vendor rewrote its core stack twice and deployments were just starting to take off.
Object storage itself isn’t new, but the opportunity is gaining traction with the growth of cloud computing. As more businesses and people look to store large, infrequently accessed files such as videos, pictures and backups, object storage provides a better alternative to SAN and NAS systems and is becoming a key component of cloud storage services. And it’s worth noting that it’s IBM’s cloud group, not its storage unit, that is leading today’s deal.
Prior to this transaction, IBM seemed on the fence about the opportunities in object storage. Now that it’s taken out one of the pioneers of next-generation object storage, it will set off speculation that others will follow suit. Last year Red Hat shelled out $175m for Inktank and earlier this year Hitachi Data Systems paid $264m for Amplidata. And there are still plenty of potential targets left, including Cloudian, DataDirect Networks, SwiftStack and Scality, which recently partnered with Dell.
We’ll have a more detailed report on this acquisition in a forthcoming 451 Market Insight.
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