IBM's Cleversafe Acquisition Expands Hybrid Cloud Storage Options - InformationWeek

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10/6/2015
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IBM's Cleversafe Acquisition Expands Hybrid Cloud Storage Options

Later this year IBM will complete its acquisition of Cleversafe to add an object-based storage system for use on-premises and in the cloud.

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IBM has agreed to acquire Cleversafe, a supplier of object-storage software and object-storage appliances, for an undisclosed amount. Cleversafe is slated to be integrated into IBM's Cloud business unit after the deal closes.

The two companies announced the deal on Monday, Oct. 5.

Storage is a frequent access ramp for an enterprise to start using cloud services, and Cleversafe will give IBM an additional route to attract such storage users. Object storage is of particular interest for those collecting masses of customer data from websites or e-commerce systems or through their use of NoSQL systems, such as Cassandra and MongoDB.

In an object storage system, data is stored as a software object, with metadata about what's contained in the object. It's become a popular basis of forming cloud storage, such as that provided by Dropbox, because it can contain both structured and unstructured data, and because it can be scaled out to very large storage structures.

(Image: KellyISP/iStockphoto)

(Image: KellyISP/iStockphoto)

"Today a massive digital transformation is underway as organizations increasingly turn to cloud computing for innovative ways to manage more complex business operations and increasing volumes of data in a secure and effective way," said Robert LeBlanc, senior vice president of IBM Cloud, in the announcement. "Cleversafe, a pioneer in object storage, will add to our efforts to help clients overcome these challenges by extending and strengthening our cloud storage strategy, as well as our portfolio." 

LeBlanc said Cleversafe and its 210 employees will be integrated into IBM's SoftLayer infrastructure-as-a-service and IBM's Bluemix platform-as-a-service clouds.

[Want to learn more about IBM Bluemix platform? See IBM Opens Third Bluemix 'Garage' In Toronto.]

Cleversafe makes its Dispersed Storage Network systems for both enterprises and service providers.  

For each, it's intended to be a low-cost, large-scale system for active archives and unstructured data stores. Dispersed Storage Network systems are expected to be a complement to IBM's software-defined Spectrum Storage portfolio for data protection and backup, tape archive, and high-performance file and object systems.

Founded in 2004, Cleversafe is a privately held Chicago company with 350 patents in object-based storage. Its software is designed primarily for on-premises storage systems, with a potential capacity of up to "billions of gigabytes," the announcement said. IBM is expected to use its object-based designs to build out compatible hybrid cloud storage systems with both an on-premises component and an easily connected one in the public cloud.

"With IBM we can … address the broadest set of workloads for clients," said John Morris, president and CEO of Cleversafe, in the announcement.

Charles Babcock is an editor-at-large for InformationWeek and author of Management Strategies for the Cloud Revolution, a McGraw-Hill book. He is the former editor-in-chief of Digital News, former software editor of Computerworld and former technology editor of Interactive ... View Full Bio

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