IBM Makes Online Storage Move With Arsenal Digital Buy

IBM became the latest tier one storage vendor to make a serious online storage play with the announcement on Thursday that it plans to acquire Arsenal Digital Solutions.

Arsenal Digital, of Cary, N.C., which delivers scalable, online on-demand data protection services, will become part of the Business Continuity and Resiliency Services business unit of IBM Global Technology Services.

Financial details of the acquisition, which is expected to close in the first quarter of 2008, were not revealed.

IBM said in a statement that the acquisition is a way for the company to provide secure, scalable information protection services to small and midsize businesses as well as enterprises. The service complements IBM's Tivoli line of data protection software and its System Storage line of storage hardware, IBM said.

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"Information protection is not optional for today's business. Continuity of data, applications, and infrastructure means survival in a world that operates around the clock, regardless of a company's size or industry," said Philippe Jarre, vice president, IBM Global Business Continuity and Resiliency Services, in a statement. "IBM's leading business continuity and resiliency services, combined with managed services from Arsenal, give IBM the most comprehensive range of information protection services, and provide clients the ability to back up and protect their information in a way that is integrated with their business continuity plan."

IBM follows the lead of several other top-tier storage vendors into the on-line storage space.

EMC in September acquired Berkeley Data Systems, developer of the Mozy on-line backup service. Mozy primarily serves end user customers.

Hard drive vendor Seagate last December acquired online backup developer EVault to go after the small business data protection market for $185 million. EVault recently unveiled its new EVault Unified Recovery platform, which now includes such features as data deduplication, replication of data to a secondary site for disaster recovery, and data self-healing capabilities.

Other storage hardware and software vendors who have recently moved into the online backup market include Hewlett-Packard, Dell, Iomega, and Symantec.

In addition, several small vendors are also targeting the online backup space, often with a channel model that allows solution providers to either resell the services hosted by the vendor or host the services themselves.