By Kevin Komiega
—This week, IBM announced its first foray into the on-demand data-protection market with the introduction of new Information Protection Services offerings based on Software as a Service (SaaS) technologies obtained via last year's acquisition of Arsenal Digital Solutions.
The new services are being offered under IBM's Express Advantage portfolio and are designed to address the business continuity needs of mid-market customers. Additions to the Express Advantage portfolio include two new services: an off-site data backup-and-recovery service, and an e-mail continuity and archiving service.
The backup-and-recovery service, dubbed Remote Data Protection Express, is an automatic, secure, and off-site data backup-and-recovery service for Windows servers and PCs. The service is for remote environments and includes hardware, software, monitoring, and management.
For data retention and archival customers, IBM rolled out E-Mail Management Express. With the e-mail continuity service, Business Partners gain an on-demand backup e-mail system that provides archiving for e-mail while ensuring uninterrupted access to e-mail tools and data.
The Express Advantage services cater to mid-market customers, defined by IBM as companies with 100 to 1,000 employees. The services also mark a slight departure from the heritage of Arsenal Digital, which primarily played in large enterprise environments.
"Our Remote Data Protection offering is a fully managed, Windows-only service aimed at smaller data footprints with fewer than five servers," says Brian Reagan, an Information Protection Services executive with IBM. "It is a lighter-weight version of the offerings from Arsenal."
The shift in market focus is in line with IBM's view of the storage services market in general. "The volume play for these services is definitely with smaller companies. That's not to say that there aren't plenty of opportunities in larger enterprises," says Reagan.
The expansion of the Arsenal portfolio within IBM has been ongoing since Big Blue closed the acquisition in January. Reagan says IBM is building out its business resiliency services centers around the globe, opening four new sites this year, with another seven scheduled for later this year. The new centers are designed to put skilled IT professionals in different geographies to deliver services to end users locally.
IBM announced its acquisition of Arsenal Digital in December 2007, ultimately absorbing the company into the IBM Global Technology Services' Business Continuity and Resiliency Services (BCRS) business unit.
Arsenal's pre-acquisition product line included a fully managed service that backs up data from servers, PCs and laptops; a tape- and disk-based data-protection service; and a service for monitoring and managing storage and backup environments on a customer's existing infrastructure.