EMC Adds Bare Metal Recovery By Acquiring Indigo Stone

The acquisition closed in March, but EMC has not publicly announced it. EMC confirmed the deal but declined to disclose financial terms.

Indigo Stone's main product is its HomeBase software, which captures profiles of server configuration settings, binary dependencies and storage layouts, allowing users to move server configurations to similar or dissimilar hardware.

About a year ago, Indigo Stone and Avamar Technologies signed a technology agreement to make HomeBase work with Avamar Axion, a data de-duplication technology. EMC acquired Avamar in November in a $165 million deal. The software has since been renamed EMC Avamar.

But Indigo Stone's bare metal recovery technology was a key driver of the acquisition, according to EMC, Indigo and channel sources. That technology has been a huge hole in EMC's data protection software offerings compared with some of its top competitors, including Symantec, CommVault and IBM Tivoli.

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Bare metal recovery (BMR) technology provides fast, disk-based recovery for enterprise servers, workstations and desktops by restoring the operating system and the data in case of a complete system failure.

Getting bare metal recovery is a huge win for EMC, said Keith Norbie, director of the storage division at Nexus Information Systems, a Plymouth, Minn.-based solution provider. Nexus is a partner of EMC and CommVault, a competitor of EMC's NetWorker data protection software, which already has bare metal recovery capability.

Norbie said Nexus has lost deals because its vendor partners did not offer bare metal recovery. "To succeed in storage, you need an end-to-end solution. And recovery is an important part of backups," he said.

An EMC spokesperson said Indigo Stone's bare metal recovery application will be important to strengthening EMC's data protection portfolio. The spokesperson said Indigo Stone worked with Avamar, and EMC decided to bring its bare metal recovery technology in-house.

The spokesperson declined to discuss any plans to integrate Indigo Stone's technology into EMC's technology but did said the industry should stay tuned for more information on EMC's strategy for Indigo Stone and NetWorker, Avamar and VMware.

Robert Shaw, former CEO of Indigo Stone and now director and business unit general manager for Indigo Stone under EMC, said bare metal recovery is a strategic focus for Indigo Stone and EMC's NetWorker offering. "It's a gap in their portfolio," Shaw said.

Indigo Stone has offices in four countries. But its product development is done in the United Kingdom, and its biggest market is the United States, Shaw said. The company's biggest U.S. channel partners are IBM Business Consulting and Recovery Services and SunGard, and it has worked with a handful of smaller solution providers, which are now being moved to EMC, he said.

The acquisition by EMC should not affect Indigo Stone's relationship with IBM Business Consulting and Recovery Services, Shaw said. "We are strategic in IBM's portfolio," he said. "BCRS has to be vendor-agnostic. So there's no effect."

Nexus' Norbie said EMC has traditionally done a great job of integrating newly acquired technology, and the Hopkinton, Mass.-based storage giant has been using the new technology to help boost his company's services business.

"Huge kudos to EMC," Norbie said. "EMC is helping us to grow our services and helping us to take advantage of their services."