EMC Acquires Hybrid Cloud Encryption Company

EMC this week acquired CloudLink, a small Canadian security company that focuses on encrypting hybrid cloud environments.

CloudLink, a 20-employee firm based in Ottowa, Ontario, encrypts workloads across multiple cloud platforms including Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure, IBM SoftLayer and EMC subsidiary VMware's vCloud Air and other vCloud powered clouds, according to CloudLink’s web site.

"As part of EMC, CloudLink will empower customers to embrace the hybrid cloud while addressing concerns around data security and sovereignty, and maintaining regulatory compliance," according to a letter on CloudLink’s web site disclosing the acquisition. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

CloudLink, an EMC Select technology partner since 2013, this past September collaborated with EMC to integrate its CloudLink Secure VSA encryption technology with EMC RecoverPoint for Virtual Machines, EMC’s disaster recover-as-a-service offering. Formerly a solution provider called AFORE Solutions, CloudLink changed its name in the middle of last year.

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"CloudLink will become an integral part of Federation Enterprise Hybrid Cloud, making encryption as a service simple, and [putting] trusted hybrid clouds within everyone's reach," said an EMC spokesman via email, noting that it will continue to be part of the Microsoft Azure ecosystem, and EMC's relationships with other security partners, such as Vormetric and Hytrust, will continue unchanged, the spokesman said.

The spokesman also pointed to a private blog post from Chad Sakac, president of global systems engineering at EMC, in response to some questions.

"CloudLink will be loosely integrated with the next major [Federation Enterprise Hybrid Cloud] release, and then tightly integrated in the version afterwards. Our plan is to make Encryption a 'feature' -- so not try to extract material 'license fees' -- and make things really, really simple," Sakac wrote Wednesday. Sakac implied that EMC Ventures was an early "quiet" investor in CloudLink, although an EMC spokesman would not confirm the investment.

Bob Venero, CEO of Future Tech, a Holbrook, N.Y.-based EMC partner, said he is anxious to see if EMC will allow the new security offering to be sold by channel partners.

"The question is: What is EMC going to do with it?" asked Venero. "Are they going to integrate it into their platform? Will it be something they offer as a service? It will be interesting to see if this application is layered into hardware, software or released as part of a monthly service. And then the question is what is the channel initiative associated with it?"

Future Tech, for its part, is doing extensive consulting around cross-cloud security and compatibility, said Venero. "That business is getting bigger and bigger as companies look to us to get a complete understanding of the gamut of cloud offerings out there," he said.

The EMC spokesman was not sure whether the technology will be available for sale through EMC partners. He was unable to provide an answer as of press time.

Steven Burke and Kevin McLaughlin contributed to this story.