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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...

About 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.

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Cloud Expo - Cloud Looms Large on SYS-CON.TV

Cloud Expo 2013 East Opening Keynote by IBM
In this Cloud Expo Keynote, Danny Sabbah, CTO & General Manager, Next Generation Platform, will detail the critical architectural considerations and success factors organizations must internalize to successfully implement, optimize and innovate using next generation architectures.
Lisa Larson, Vice President of Enterprise Cloud Solutions of Rackspace Hosting Live From New York City
In the old world of IT, if you didn't have hardware capacity or the budget to buy more, your project was dead in the water. Budget constraints can leave some of the best, most creative and most ingenious innovations on the cutting room floor. It's a true dilemma for developers and innovators – why spend the time creating, when a project could be abandoned in a blink? That was the old world. In the new world of IT, developers rule. They have access to resources they can spin up instantly. A hybrid cloud ignites innovation and empowers developers to focus on what they need. A hybrid cloud blends the best of all worlds, public cloud, private cloud and dedicated servers to fit the needs of developers and offer the ideal environment for each app and workload without the constraints of a one-size-fits-all cloud.

Keynote: Driving Cloud Innovation: SSDs Change Cloud Storage Paradigm
Cloud is a transformational shift in computing that can have a powerful effect on enterprise IT when designed correctly and used to its full potential. Join Citrix in a discussion that centers on building, connecting and empowering users with cloud services and hear examples of how enterprises are solving real-world business challenges with an architecture and solution purpose-built for the cloud.

Go Beyond IaaS to Deliver "Anything As a Service"
Many organizations want to expand upon the IaaS foundation to deliver cloud services in all forms—software, mobility, infrastructure and IT. Understanding the strategy, planning process and tools for this transformation will help catalyze changes in the way the business operates and deliver real value. Join us to learn about the new ITaaS model and how to begin the transformation.

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Enterprises have been using both Big Data and virtualization for years. Until recently, however, most enterprises have not combined the two. Big Data's demands for higher levels of performance, the ability to control quality-of-service (QoS), and the ability to adhere to SLAs have kept it on bare metal, apart from the modern data center cloud. With recent technology innovations, we've seen the advantages of bare metal erode to such a degree that the enhanced flexibility and reduced costs that ...
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SYS-CON Events announced today that SoftNet Solutions will exhibit at the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. SoftNet Solutions specializes in Enterprise Solutions for Hadoop and Big Data. It offers customers the most open, robust, and value-conscious portfolio of solutions, services, and tools for the shortest route to success with Big Data. The unique differentiator is the ability to architect and ...
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SYS-CON Events announced today that Niagara Networks will exhibit at the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Niagara Networks offers the highest port-density systems, and the most complete Next-Generation Network Visibility systems including Network Packet Brokers, Bypass Switches, and Network TAPs.
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@CloudExpo Blogs
The Internet of Things (IoT) promises to change everything by enabling “smart” environments (homes, cities, hospitals, schools, stores, etc.) and smart products (cars, trucks, airplanes, trains, wind turbines, lawnmowers, etc.). I recently wrote about the importance of moving beyond “connected” to “smart” in a blog titled “Internet of Things: Connected Does Not Equal Smart”. The article discusses the importance of moving beyond just collecting the data, to transitioning to leveraging this new wealth of IoT data to improve the decisions that these smart environments and products need to make: t...
If you are within a stones throw of the DevOps marketplace you have undoubtably noticed the growing trend in Microservices. Whether you have been staying up to date with the latest articles and blogs or you just read the definition for the first time, these 5 Microservices Resources You Need In Your Life will guide you through the ins and outs of Microservices in today’s world.
A BriefingsDirect thought leadership panel discussion explores how public-sector organizations can gain economic benefits from cloud interoperability and standardization. Our panel comes to you in conjunction with The Open Group Paris Event and Member Meeting October 24 through 27, 2016 in France, with a focus on the latest developments in eGovernment. As government agencies move to the public cloud computing model, the use of more than one public cloud provider can offer economic benefits by a competition and choice. But are the public clouds standardized efficiently for true interoperabi...
As we enter the final week before the 19th International Cloud Expo | @ThingsExpo in Santa Clara, CA, it's time for me to reflect on six big topics that will be important during the show. Hybrid Cloud This general-purpose term seems to provide a comfort zone for many enterprise IT managers. It sounds reassuring to be able to work with one of the major public-cloud providers like AWS or Microsoft Azure while still maintaining an on-site presence.
Conjecture, an opinion or conclusion formed on the basis of incomplete information. All digital transformation initiatives introduce new problems, software bugs, guaranteed network vulnerabilities, new competitors; new business challenges and new stresses. The elimination of all negative consequences and vulnerabilities are impossible, so our focus should be on limiting and containing it, not eliminating it.
For those unfamiliar, as a developer working in marketing for an infrastructure automation company, I have tried to clarify the different versions of DevOps by capitalizing the part that benefits in a given DevOps scenario. In this case we’re talking about operations improvements. While devs – particularly those involved in automation or DevOps will find it interesting, it really talks to growing issues Operations are finding. The problem is right in front of us, we’re confronting it every day, and yet, a ton of us aren’t fixing it for our organizations, we’re merely kicking the ball down the...
In his general session at 18th Cloud Expo, Lee Atchison, Principal Cloud Architect and Advocate at New Relic, discussed cloud as a ‘better data center’ and how it adds new capacity (faster) and improves application availability (redundancy). The cloud is a ‘Dynamic Tool for Dynamic Apps’ and resource allocation is an integral part of your application architecture, so use only the resources you need and allocate /de-allocate resources on the fly.
Application transformation and DevOps practices are two sides of the same coin. Enterprises that want to capture value faster, need to deliver value faster – time value of money principle. To do that enterprises need to build cloud-native apps as microservices by empowering teams to build, ship, and run in production. In his session at @DevOpsSummit at 19th Cloud Expo, Neil Gehani, senior product manager at HPE, will discuss what every business should plan for how to structure their teams to deliver.
HTI Labs in London provides the means and governance with its Schematiq tool to bring critical data services to the interface users want. The next BriefingsDirect Voice of the Customer digital transformation case study explores how powerful and diverse financial information is newly and uniquely delivered to the ubiquitous Excel spreadsheet edge.
Two weeks ago (November 3-5), I attended the Cloud Expo Silicon Valley as a speaker, where I presented on the security and privacy due diligence requirements for cloud solutions. Cloud security is a topical issue for every CIO, CISO, and technology buyer. Decision-makers are always looking for insights on how to mitigate the security risks of implementing and using cloud solutions. Based on the presentation topics covered at the conference, as well as the general discussions heard between sessions, I wanted to share some of my observations on emerging trends. As cyber security serves as a fou...
There are some enterprise applications that were born to be in the cloud. Customer relationship management (CRM) applications were an early favorite because salespeople (the primary consumers of CRM) are decentralized and mobile. Web applications and personal data storage are also ideal cloud applications because they allow enterprises to scale up easily while driving down costs. Enterprises have held on to their communications, however, making it one of the last applications to move into the cloud.
Last week, I was a keynote speaker at the Mobile Edge '16 conference in Lisbon, Portugal. Following the conference I met individually with many different companies. These companies represented a variety of industries, sizes and digital maturity levels. I was sharing my latest digital strategy report findings, and then answering questions and brainstorming about what the data meant to each of them. At the hotel, following a long day of meetings, it occurred to me that the biggest value I was bringing to these businesses was the breadth of my experience - the kind of experience that has turned...
@ThingsExpo has been named the Top 5 Most Influential M2M Brand by Onalytica in the ‘Machine to Machine: Top 100 Influencers and Brands.' Onalytica analyzed the online debate on M2M by looking at over 85,000 tweets to provide the most influential individuals and brands that drive the discussion. According to Onalytica the "analysis showed a very engaged community with a lot of interactive tweets. The M2M discussion seems to be more fragmented and driven by some of the major brands present in the M2M space. This really allows some room for influential individuals to create more high value inter...
Ten short years ago, Apache Hadoop was just a small project deployed on a few machines at Yahoo and within a few years, it had truly become the backbone of Yahoo’s data infrastructure. Additionally, the current Apache Hadoop market is forecasted to surpass $16 billion by 2020. This might lead you to believe that Apache Hadoop is currently the backbone of data infrastructures for all enterprises; however, widespread enterprise adoption has been shockingly low.
Recently I've been doing quite a bit of analysis work using the IBM Watson cognitive business platform. The really exciting thing about this opportunity is the way data can seem to have a conversation with you. This got me wondering if social media data could carry on a conversation as well. Given my almost unhealthy interest in cloud computing, we ran a one week experiment to "crowdsource the internet" in order to see if it held any interesting cloud computing insights.
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Past SYS-CON Events
    Cloud Expo West

    Cloud Expo East

    Cloud Expo West

    Virtualization Expo West
    Cloud Expo Europe

    Cloud Expo East

    Virtualization Expo East
    Cloud Expo West

    Virtualization Expo West
    GovIT Expo
    Cloud Expo Europe

Cloud Expo 2011 Allstar Conference Faculty












Dell Boomi


Layer 7 Tech



What The Enterprise IT World Says About Cloud Expo
"We had extremely positive feedback from both customers and prospects that attended the show and saw live demos of NaviSite's enterprise cloud based services."
  –William Toll
Sr. Director, Marketing & Strategic Alliances

"More and better leads than ever expected! I have 4-6 follow ups personally."
  –Richard Wellner
Chief Scientist
Univa UD

"Good crowd, good questions. The event looked very successful."
  –Simon Crosby
Citrix Systems

"It's the largest cloud computing conference I've ever seen."
  –David Linthicum
Brick Group