Welcome!

Agile Computing Authors: Elizabeth White, Rishi Bhargava, Liz McMillan, Pat Romanski, Xenia von Wedel

Related Topics: Containers Expo Blog, Industrial IoT, Microservices Expo, Open Source Cloud, @CloudExpo, CRM

Containers Expo Blog: Blog Feed Post

Congratulations Imation and Nexsan

Are there any independent storage vendors left?

Last week Imation, the company that is known for making CDs, DVDs, magnetic tape and in the past floppy disk (diskettes), bought Nexsan, a company known for the SATA and SAS storage products.

Imation also (or should be) owns the TDK and Memorex names (remember is it real or is it Memorex? If not Google it). They also have had for several years removable hard disk drive (RHDD) products including the Odyssey (I am in the process of retiring mine), as well as partnership with the former ProStor for RDX and having acquired some of the assets of ProStor namely their RDX based InifiVault storage appliance. Imation has also been involved in some other things including USB and other forms of flash-based solid state devices (SSD), as well as a couple of years (2007) they launched cloud backup with DataGuard before cloud backup had become a popular buzzword topic.

Imation has also divested parts of its business over past several years including some medical related (X-ray stuff) to Kodak who occupies part of the headquarter building in Oakdale MN, or at least last time I looked when driving by there on way from the airport. They also divested their SAN lab with some of the staff going to Glasshouse and other pieces going to Lion bridge (an independent test lab company). Beyond traditional of data protection, backup/restore and archiving media or mediums from consumer to large-scale enterprise, Imation has also been involved in other areas involving recording. Imation also has done some other recent acquisitions around dedupe (Nine Technologies).

For its part, Nexsan has extended their portfolio from SATA and SAS products, AutoMaid Intelligent Power Management (IPM) which gives benefits of variable power and performance without the penalties of first generation MAID type products. Read more about IPM and related themes here, here and here. Nexsan also supports NAS and iSCSI solutions in addition to their archive and content or object storage focused Assureon product they bought a few years ago.

This is a good acquisition for both companies as it gives Imation a new set of products to sell into their existing accounts and channels. It also can leverage Nexsan's channel and solution selling skills giving them (Nexsan) a bigger brand and large parent for credibility (not that they did not have that in the past).

Here are is a link to a piece done by Dave Raffo that includes some comments and perspectives from me. To say that the synergy here is about archiving or selling SSD or storage would be too easy and miss a bigger potential. That potential is Imation has been in the business of selling consumable accessories for protecting and preserving data. Notice I said consumable accessories which in the past has meant manufacturing consumable media (e.g. Floppy disks or discs, CD, DVDs, magnetic tapes) as well as partnering around flash and HDDs.

In many environments from small to large to super-sized cloud and service providers, some types of storage systems including some of those that Nexsan sells can be considered a consumable media or medium taking over the role that tape, CDs or DVDs have been used in the pat. Instead of using tape or CDs or DVDs to protect the HDDs and SSDs based data, HDD based solutions are being used for disk-to-disk (D2D) protection (part of modernizing data protection). D2D is being done as appliances, or in conjunction with cloud and object storage system software stacks such as OpenStack swift, Basho Riak CS, CloudStack, Cleversafe, Ceph, Caringo and a list of others, in addition to appliances such as EMC ATMOS among others than can support 3rd party storage device as consumable mediums. Keep in mind that there is no such thing as a data or information recession, and people and data are living longer and getting larger, both for big data and little data.

The big if in this acquisition which IMHO is a fair price for both parties based on realistic valuations is if they can collective execute on it. This means that Imation and Nexsan need to leverage each other's strengths, address any weakness, close gaps and expand into each other's markets, channels and sell the entire portfolio as opposed to becoming singular focused on a particular area tool or technology. If Imation can execute on this and Nexsan leverages their new parent, the result should be moving from the roughly $85M USD sales to $100M+ then $125M then $150M and so forth over the next couple of years.

Even if Imation keeps maintains revenues or a slight increase, which would also be a good deal for them, granted the industry pundits may not agree, so let us see where this is in a few years. However if Imation can grow the Nexsan business, then it would become a very good deal. Thus, IMHO the price valuation for the deal has the risk built into, something like when NetApp bought the Engenio business unit from LSI back in 2011 for about $480M USD. At that time, Engenio was doing about $705M USD in revenue and seen by many industry pundits as being on the decline, thus a lower valuation. For its part, NetApp, has been executing maintaining the revenue of that business unit with some expansion, thus their execution so far is being rewarding for taking the risk.

Let us see if Imation can do the same thing.

Now, does that mean that Nexsan was the last of the independent storage vendors left?

Hardly, after all there is still Xiotech, excuse me, Xio as they changed their name as part of a repackaging, relaunch and downsizing. There is DotHill who supplies partners such HP, or Dothills former partner supplier InfoTrend. If you are an Apple fan then you might know about Promise, if not, you should. Lets not forget about Data Direct Networks (DDN) that is still independent and at around $200M (give or take several million) in revenue, are very much still around.

How about Xyratex, sure they make the enclosures and appliances that many others use in their solutions, however they also have a storage solutions business focused on scale out, clustered and grid NAS based on Lustre. There are some others that I am drawing a blank on now (if you read this and are one of them, chime in) in addition to all the new or current generation of startups (you can chime in as well to let people know who you are to be bought).

There is still consolidation taking place, both of smaller vendors by mid-sized vendors, mid-sized vendors by big vendors, big vendors by mega vendors, and startups by established.

Again congratulations to both Imation and Nexsan, let us see who or what is next on the 2013 mergers and acquisition list, as well as who will join the where are they now club.

Disclosure: Nexsan has been a StorageIO client in the past; however, Imation has not been a client, although they have bought me lunch before here in the Stillwater, MN area.

With Imation having their own brand name and identity, not to mention TDK and Memorex, now I have to wonder will Nexsan be real or Memorex or something else? ;)

Ok, nuff said.

Cheers gs

Greg Schulz - Author Cloud and Virtual Data Storage Networking (CRC Press, 2011), The Green and Virtual Data Center (CRC Press, 2009), and Resilient Storage Networks (Elsevier, 2004)

twitter @storageio

All Comments, (C) and (TM) belong to their owners/posters, Other content (C) Copyright 2006-2013 StorageIO All Rights Reserved

Read the original blog entry...

More Stories By Greg Schulz

Greg Schulz is founder of the Server and StorageIO (StorageIO) Group, an IT industry analyst and consultancy firm. Greg has worked with various server operating systems along with storage and networking software tools, hardware and services. Greg has worked as a programmer, systems administrator, disaster recovery consultant, and storage and capacity planner for various IT organizations. He has worked for various vendors before joining an industry analyst firm and later forming StorageIO.

In addition to his analyst and consulting research duties, Schulz has published over a thousand articles, tips, reports and white papers and is a sought after popular speaker at events around the world. Greg is also author of the books Resilient Storage Network (Elsevier) and The Green and Virtual Data Center (CRC). His blog is at www.storageioblog.com and he can also be found on twitter @storageio.

@ThingsExpo Stories
"We build IoT infrastructure products - when you have to integrate different devices, different systems and cloud you have to build an application to do that but we eliminate the need to build an application. Our products can integrate any device, any system, any cloud regardless of protocol," explained Peter Jung, Chief Product Officer at Pulzze Systems, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
The cloud promises new levels of agility and cost-savings for Big Data, data warehousing and analytics. But it’s challenging to understand all the options – from IaaS and PaaS to newer services like HaaS (Hadoop as a Service) and BDaaS (Big Data as a Service). In her session at @BigDataExpo at @ThingsExpo, Hannah Smalltree, a director at Cazena, provided an educational overview of emerging “as-a-service” options for Big Data in the cloud. This is critical background for IT and data professionals...
"Once customers get a year into their IoT deployments, they start to realize that they may have been shortsighted in the ways they built out their deployment and the key thing I see a lot of people looking at is - how can I take equipment data, pull it back in an IoT solution and show it in a dashboard," stated Dave McCarthy, Director of Products at Bsquare Corporation, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Fact is, enterprises have significant legacy voice infrastructure that’s costly to replace with pure IP solutions. How can we bring this analog infrastructure into our shiny new cloud applications? There are proven methods to bind both legacy voice applications and traditional PSTN audio into cloud-based applications and services at a carrier scale. Some of the most successful implementations leverage WebRTC, WebSockets, SIP and other open source technologies. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Da...
As data explodes in quantity, importance and from new sources, the need for managing and protecting data residing across physical, virtual, and cloud environments grow with it. Managing data includes protecting it, indexing and classifying it for true, long-term management, compliance and E-Discovery. Commvault can ensure this with a single pane of glass solution – whether in a private cloud, a Service Provider delivered public cloud or a hybrid cloud environment – across the heterogeneous enter...
"IoT is going to be a huge industry with a lot of value for end users, for industries, for consumers, for manufacturers. How can we use cloud to effectively manage IoT applications," stated Ian Khan, Innovation & Marketing Manager at Solgeniakhela, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held November 3-5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Today we can collect lots and lots of performance data. We build beautiful dashboards and even have fancy query languages to access and transform the data. Still performance data is a secret language only a couple of people understand. The more business becomes digital the more stakeholders are interested in this data including how it relates to business. Some of these people have never used a monitoring tool before. They have a question on their mind like “How is my application doing” but no id...
@GonzalezCarmen has been ranked the Number One Influencer and @ThingsExpo has been named the Number One Brand in the “M2M 2016: Top 100 Influencers and Brands” by Onalytica. Onalytica analyzed tweets over the last 6 months mentioning the keywords M2M OR “Machine to Machine.” They then identified the top 100 most influential brands and individuals leading the discussion on Twitter.
Information technology is an industry that has always experienced change, and the dramatic change sweeping across the industry today could not be truthfully described as the first time we've seen such widespread change impacting customer investments. However, the rate of the change, and the potential outcomes from today's digital transformation has the distinct potential to separate the industry into two camps: Organizations that see the change coming, embrace it, and successful leverage it; and...
The Internet of Things (IoT) promises to simplify and streamline our lives by automating routine tasks that distract us from our goals. This promise is based on the ubiquitous deployment of smart, connected devices that link everything from industrial control systems to automobiles to refrigerators. Unfortunately, comparatively few of the devices currently deployed have been developed with an eye toward security, and as the DDoS attacks of late October 2016 have demonstrated, this oversight can ...
Extracting business value from Internet of Things (IoT) data doesn’t happen overnight. There are several requirements that must be satisfied, including IoT device enablement, data analysis, real-time detection of complex events and automated orchestration of actions. Unfortunately, too many companies fall short in achieving their business goals by implementing incomplete solutions or not focusing on tangible use cases. In his general session at @ThingsExpo, Dave McCarthy, Director of Products...
Machine Learning helps make complex systems more efficient. By applying advanced Machine Learning techniques such as Cognitive Fingerprinting, wind project operators can utilize these tools to learn from collected data, detect regular patterns, and optimize their own operations. In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, Stuart Gillen, Director of Business Development at SparkCognition, discussed how research has demonstrated the value of Machine Learning in delivering next generation analytics to impr...
More and more brands have jumped on the IoT bandwagon. We have an excess of wearables – activity trackers, smartwatches, smart glasses and sneakers, and more that track seemingly endless datapoints. However, most consumers have no idea what “IoT” means. Creating more wearables that track data shouldn't be the aim of brands; delivering meaningful, tangible relevance to their users should be. We're in a period in which the IoT pendulum is still swinging. Initially, it swung toward "smart for smar...
20th Cloud Expo, taking place June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. Cloud computing is now being embraced by a majority of enterprises of all sizes. Yesterday's debate about public vs. private has transformed into the reality of hybrid cloud: a recent survey shows that 74% of enterprises have a hybrid cloud strategy.
Businesses and business units of all sizes can benefit from cloud computing, but many don't want the cost, performance and security concerns of public cloud nor the complexity of building their own private clouds. Today, some cloud vendors are using artificial intelligence (AI) to simplify cloud deployment and management. In his session at 20th Cloud Expo, Ajay Gulati, Co-founder and CEO of ZeroStack, will discuss how AI can simplify cloud operations. He will cover the following topics: why clou...
"ReadyTalk is an audio and web video conferencing provider. We've really come to embrace WebRTC as the platform for our future of technology," explained Dan Cunningham, CTO of ReadyTalk, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at WebRTC Summit at 19th Cloud Expo, held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Internet of @ThingsExpo, taking place June 6-8, 2017 at the Javits Center in New York City, New York, is co-located with the 20th International Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. @ThingsExpo New York Call for Papers is now open.
Successful digital transformation requires new organizational competencies and capabilities. Research tells us that the biggest impediment to successful transformation is human; consequently, the biggest enabler is a properly skilled and empowered workforce. In the digital age, new individual and collective competencies are required. In his session at 19th Cloud Expo, Bob Newhouse, CEO and founder of Agilitiv, drew together recent research and lessons learned from emerging and established compa...
Data is the fuel that drives the machine learning algorithmic engines and ultimately provides the business value. In his session at Cloud Expo, Ed Featherston, a director and senior enterprise architect at Collaborative Consulting, discussed the key considerations around quality, volume, timeliness, and pedigree that must be dealt with in order to properly fuel that engine.
Everyone knows that truly innovative companies learn as they go along, pushing boundaries in response to market changes and demands. What's more of a mystery is how to balance innovation on a fresh platform built from scratch with the legacy tech stack, product suite and customers that continue to serve as the business' foundation. In his General Session at 19th Cloud Expo, Michael Chambliss, Head of Engineering at ReadyTalk, discussed why and how ReadyTalk diverted from healthy revenue and mor...