Actifio and IBM Take Aim at Cloud Providers

Posted on February 13, 2012 By Pedro Hernandez

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Waltham, Mass.-based startup Actifio is already cutting data storage costs for organizations. Now, by teaming up with IBM, it's taking a shot at a bigger pool of cloud services providers engaged by the IT products and services giant.

The company, which shook the stealthy cloak off its storage virtualization platform in 2010, wants to enable cloud data management backup, disaster recovery and business continuity for cloud VARs.

The appeal for cloud providers, according to Activio's president, Jim Sullivan, is the ability to bring multiple data management services into alignment with its Protection and Availability Storage (PAS) platform -- and reduce storage expenditures to boot.

Activio's PAS appliance and software combo puts storage systems on a diet by providing "a simple way to map applications to service levels," said Sullivan. Its built-in snapshot and discovery engine takes stock of data stored on arrays, along with the applications that access it.

From there, it's a matter of taking an SLA approach to connecting applications with data needed to get work done. PAS accomplishes this by providing those applications with virtual copies of the same data and eliminating copies and copies-of-copies that can clutter up storage infrastructures.

The cost savings can be staggering. According to the company, in the three years its tech has been deployed within various organizations, it has seen storage costs plummet by up to 90 percent for some customers. Added benefits include the elimination of backup and restore windows, and in some cases, a nearly 70 percent reduction in network utilization.

Wooing Cloud Providers

If those attributes aren't enough to attract cloud services providers, maybe a one-stop shop approach to data management will.

According to Sullivan, under the traditional service provider paradigm, "if you wanted cloud-based backup and disaster recovery, you had to buy multiple tools." Complexity aside, it defeats the cost-savings benefits of adopting a cloud-based strategy. In short, "it's hard to make any money" as a VAR, said Sullivan.

To help remedy this, Actifio is teaming with IBM (NYSE: IBM) to bundle its tech with IBM's System Storage DS3500 Express array, the Storwize V7000 virtualized storage system and the IBM XIV Storage System Gen3 disk storage system. Also getting the PAS treatment is the IBM System x server-powered SAN Storage Volume Controller virtualization appliance.

For a company like NaviSite, a managed cloud services company owned by Time Warner Cable, Actifio's PAS has "replaced about 12 products," said Sullivan. NaviSite president, R. Brooks Borcherding, attests to the efficiencies made possible by storage space-saving technology. "It has made our network more cost-effective, allowed us to better manage our data and helped to transform our data center," he said.

With this new alliance, Actifio hopes to bring its storage space-saving tech to IBM’s service provider market of approximately 4,400 customers.

Pedro Hernandez is a contributor to the IT Business Edge Network, the network for technology professionals. Previously, he served as a managing editor for the Internet.com network of IT-related websites and as the Green IT curator for GigaOM Pro. Follow him on Twitter @ecoINSITE

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