HP Partners: OuterBay Buy A Good ILM Move

HP Tuesday said it agreed to buy Cupertino, Calif.-based OuterBay, a developer of archiving software for enterprise applications and databases, with an emphasis on Oracle databases, for an undisclosed sum.

OuterBay offers a number of tools related to information lifecycle management, or ILM, including Application Resource Monitor, which lets users monitor, analyze and forecast data growth as well as create, model and enforce data retention policies; LiveArchive, which identifies and relocates inactive data to an online database; Encapsulated Archive, which archives data in a form that can be accessed if the original application is no longer available; and Instance Generator for creating development and training databases.

The acquisition follows HP's acquisition last fall of AppIQ, a developer of software to manage storage area networks (SANs) and storage resources. As a part of HP's ILM offerings, the software helps automate the management of a variety of storage asks within the data center.

The OuterBay acquisition will give HP access to intellectual property that can expand its ILM offerings, said Paul O'Brien, director of ILM for the vendor.

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While HP has had products for archiving and managing unstructured data such as e-mails and documents, OuterBay gives it the technology for managing structured data, such as that found in databases, O'Brien said.

Rich Baldwin, president and CEO of Nth Generation Computing, a San Diego-based HP solution provider, said customers are always looking for better ways to manage and increase the performance of Oracle databases, and that OuterBay will go far to help with the task.

"The whole ILM story is one that is rapidly evolving," Baldwin said. "I'm really pleased to see HP step up to bat. A couple months ago, HP acquired AppIQ. It's good to see them acquiring good technology again."

Kathie Shenton, senior account manager at Select, a Westwood, Mass.-based solution provider, said that solution providers and customers should not underestimate the importance of ILM, which can help cut storage costs and ensure that data can be recovered as needed.

Yet while the acquisition of OuterBay helps fill out HP's ILM platform, Shenton said she is concerned that the vendor is not able to integrate its different storage technologies into a coherent, integrated offering.

HP has not been able to tie its entry-level MSA line, its EVA line, and its Hitachi Data Systems' Lightning arrays in such a way that a customer could, for instance, easily move from a high-end EVA array to a Lightning as storage needs increase, Shenton said.

"The one thing I don't see is HP deciding what HP is," she said. "It's almost a different story for small business, midsize business, and upper business in terms of backup and ILM strategies. I would hope that HP will reach a conclusion about where it's going."

Still, HP is not alone in this respect, Shenton said. While vendors like EMC and Veritas have gone further than most in terms of integrated ILM strategies, no company has the whole picture yet, she said. "If someone can wrap their hands around it, it could be a complete solution," she said. "But it's not being done yet."

O'Brien said that integrating ILM is an ongoing strategy at HP, and one that will continue with OuterBay.

While HP has had an OEM deal with OuterBay for the past 12 months, it decided to buy the company because of the importance of ILM going forward, O'Brien said. "This is a very strategic market for us. Owning the pipe to get to that data is important. And acquiring OuterBay means we'll be better able to make it work with AppIQ and with HP-UX."

The OuterBay applications will be integrated with HP's RISS (Reference Information Storage Subsystem) data archiving appliance, which O'Brien said has been available through the company's top VARs and is now becoming available to its mainstream channel.