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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
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[June 11-14, 2012]

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Introducing Big Data Expo
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There is little doubt that Big Data solutions will have an increasing role in the Enterprise IT mainstream over time. Get a jump on that rapidly evolving trend at Big Data Expo, which we are introducing in June at
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Testimonials
Cloud Expo was a fantastic event for CSS Corp - we easily exceeded our objectives for engaging with clients and prospects."
AHMAR ABBAS
SVP, Global Infrastructure Management, CSS Corp.
 
With our launch at Cloud Expo, we successfully transformed the company from a relatively unknown European player into the dominant player in the market. Our competitors were taken by surprise and just blown away. We got a huge number of really high quality leads..."
PETE MALCOLM
CEO, Abiquo
 
We were extremely pleased with Cloud Expo this year - I’d say it exceeded expectations all around. This is the same info we got from partners who attended as well. Nice job!"
MARY BASS
Director of Marketing, UnivaUD
 
Cloud Expo helps focus the debate on the critical issues at hand in effect connecting main street with the next frontier."

GREG O’CONNOR
President & CEO, Appzero


Who Should Attend?
Senior Technologists including CIOs, CTOs, VPs of technology, IT directors and managers, network and storage managers, network engineers, enterprise architects, communications and networking specialists, directors of infrastructure Business Executives including CEOs, CMOs, CIOs, presidents, VPs, directors, business development; product and purchasing managers.


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@CloudExpo Blogs
Microsoft has announced the long-awaited launch of Windows 10, scheduled to be the iconic platform’s last numbered version. By all estimations, Windows 10 will give modern IT users everything they want, wherever and whenever they need it. The one operating system, on the surface at least, addresses all kinds of devices – from PCs and smartphones to even game consoles. For Microsoft, Windows 10 is not just another update; it promises a wholly new user experience. Seamlessness is an important theme to recognize, a vital force in an era when employees demand more flexibility in working environme...
One of the ways to increase scalability of services – and applications – is to go “stateless.” The reasons for this are many, but in general by eliminating the mapping between a single client and a single app or service instance you eliminate the need for resources to manage state in the app (overhead) and improve the distributability (I can make up words if I want) of requests across a pool of instances. The latter occurs because sessions don’t need to hang out and consume resources that could be used to serve other requests. Distribution should, in theory, be more even and enable better pred...
It’s not hard to feel sorry for Chief Information Officers (CIOs) – the levels at which they need to operate change all the time… and depth and granularity of the dataflows that present themselves change all the time. Just when we thought we had the whole client-server model worked out, along came the Internet and cloud and the data center.
All enterprises, be they large or small, national or multinational, commercial or government agency, American or Chinese, Japanese or European, are carrying the dead weight of their history and almost certainly continuing to add unnecessary complexity and excessive cost that will progressively reduce effectiveness, with the potential to trigger existential crises. Newer enterprises including Internet platform and Cloud based companies are not immune from this effect. As Horace Dediu has commented, Nokia is a classic case of a large enterprise brought from market leadership to irrelevance and z...
Deploying and operating cloud technology is difficult and falls outside the core competencies of most organizations. As a result, many on-premises private cloud installations falter, casting doubt on private cloud as a solution in general. Yet private clouds come with a unique set of benefits that continue to drive widespread interest. There must be a better way. In his session at 16th Cloud Expo, Andre Bearfield, Senior Director of Product at Blue Box Group, gave participants a clear roadmap of private cloud implementation challenges and offered actionable ideas on how to overcome them. The...
National Savings Bank in Malaysia has implemented a sweeping enterprise content management system project and slashed paper use, increased productivity, rationalized storage and documents, and cut security risks, while adhering to compliance requirements.
I spent a few days in New York City last week attending a couple of meetups, including speaking at a New York City Web Performance Meetup on Thursday night. I had several great conversations around real user monitoring, data science and analytics, and, of course, testing in production (my favorite topic these days!). I had quite a few discussions around how SOASTA CloudTest manages these large cloud environments and if there are any best practices for load server grid management, especially when performance testing using a very large, location-diverse — and even cloud provider-diverse — envir...
Sensor-enabled things are becoming more commonplace, precursors to a larger and more complex framework that most consider the ultimate promise of the IoT: things connecting, interacting, sharing, storing, and over time perhaps learning and predicting based on habits, behaviors, location, preferences, purchases and more. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Tom Wesselman, Director of Communications Ecosystem Architecture at Plantronics, examineed the still nascent IoT as it is coalescing, including what it is today, what it might ultimately be, the role of wearable tech, and technology gaps still in...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Luxoft Holding, Inc., a leading provider of software development services and innovative IT solutions, has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's @ThingsExpo, which will take place on November 3–5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Luxoft’s software development services consist of core and mission-critical custom software development and support, product engineering and testing, and technology consulting.
The Internet of Things (IoT) has quickly become the next “be all to end all” in information technology. Touted as how cloud computing will connect everyday things together, it is also feared as the real- life instantiation of The Terminator’s Skynet, where sentient robot team with an omnipresent and all-knowing entity that uses technology to control, and ultimately destroy, all of humanity.
DevOps is first and foremost a mindset – any DevOps initiative must begin with a cultural change. Last Tuesday, I participated in an online panel on the subject of Implementing a DevOps Culture, as part of Continuous Discussions (#c9d9), a series of community panels about Agile, Continuous Delivery and DevOps. Watch a recording of the panel: Continuous Discussions is a community initiative by Electric Cloud, which powers Continuous Delivery at businesses like SpaceX, Cisco, GE and E*TRADE by automating their build, test and deployment processes.
Business and IT leaders today need better application delivery capabilities to support critical new innovation. But how often do you hear objections to improving application delivery like, "I can harden it against attack, but not on this timeline"; "I can make it better, but it will cost more"; "I can deliver faster, but not with these specs"; or "I can stay strong on cost control, but quality will suffer"? In the new application economy, these tradeoffs are no longer acceptable. Customers will abandon your brand forever for a slow response or a privacy breach; competitors will steal critical ...
Unless you fully automate infrastructure and platform provisioning, application build, test and deployment phases and have them working together in sequence, you can’t realize the ideal of continuous delivery. These ‘automation tool chains’ are a mandatory element of each DevOps environment. The number of manual activities in the application test and release processes can cause a downstream bottleneck. Changes pile up at the end of development and unit test activities in agile development environments like SCRUM or Kanban, therefore rendering them less effective. Automation tool chains signif...
The majority of an organization’s revenues are dependent on suppliers, distributors and other third parties. But as Benjamin M. Lawsky, New York State’s Superintendent of Financial Services, points out: “Unfortunately, those third-party firms can provide a back-door entrance to hackers who are seeking to steal sensitive bank customer data.” By now most everyone is well aware of the major data breaches afflicting Target and Home Depot – both triggered through a third party – that affected more than 100 million consumers. But the problem persists. A recent report from the New York State Departm...
Snagajob – one of the largest hourly employment networks for job seekers and employers – uses big data to finally understand their systems' performance in action. The next BriefingsDirect analytics innovation case study interview explores how Snagajob in Richmond, Virginia – one of the largest hourly employment networks for job seekers and employers – uses big data to finally understand their systems' performance in action. The result is vast improvement in how they provide rapid and richer services to their customers.
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Cloud Expo 2011 Allstar Conference Faculty

S.F.S.
Dell

Singer
NRO

Pereyra
Oracle

Ryan
OpSource

Butte
PwC

Leone
Oracle

Riley
AWS

Varia
AWS

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Oracle

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AppZero

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RightScale

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Layer 7 Tech

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NYT

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Oracle

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