Seagate Rolls Up Data Services Into New Company: i365

Seagate is rolling up a number of its recent acquisitions into a new wholly-owned subsidiary in a play for the storage-related services market.

Seagate, a leading hard disk drive manufacturer, is leveraging its name in the foundation of a new services subsidiary called i365, a Seagate Company.

i365 brings together the technology from several recent acquisitions of developers of data storage-related services technologies that can be combined into an interoperable services platform, said Carolyn Crandall, senior vice president of worldwide marketing for i365.

The operation of those acquisitions has been running under the moniker Seagate Services, but starting Tuesday will operate as a single entity under the name i365, Crandall said.

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The seeds for i365 come from four acquisitions in the last two years, Crandall said.

It started in 2006, when Seagate acquired Action Front Data Recovery Services, a provider of technology to recover data from problem hard drives and tape drives that has since morphed into the ability to do data retention for discovery purposes.

In 2007, Seagate made three acquisitions. The first was EVault, a provider of on-line data backup services as well as the software to allow customers to build their own on-line data protection cloud.

The second was the legacy open file manager technology from software developer St. Bernard.

The third was MetaLINCS, a developer of enterprise-class e-discovery software which automatically analyzes emails, documents, and associated metadata, and presents visual analysis of people, conversations, concepts, and communication patterns.

Crandall said that i365 is focused on making sure the different technologies interoperate with each other. However, she said it is not creating an integrated platform.

"This is less about integration, and more about the interoperability," she said. "So we will focus on data replication, which can lead to data migration, and data migration, which can lead to discovery. Customers will have a one-stop place to go for all these things without the need to go to market with multiple vendors."

It makes sense for Seagate to tie the services together in a single organization, said Jed Ayres, senior vice president of partner management and marketing at MTM Technologies, a Stamford, Conn.-based solution provider and long-term partner of the EVault services offering.

"There are technologies Seagate has that I didn't even know they had, including data recovery and e-discovery," Ayres said. "It seems like we'll get new technologies leveraging the Seagate name. They will be easier to bring to customers under the Seagate name."

Ayres said he will be looking to add i365-branded and Seagate-branded data recovery and migration services. "We do a lot of data center build outs and migration, so that looks interesting," he said. "And we do a lot of compliance work with customers, so the MetaLINCS e-discovery offering looks interesting."

MTM has had a lot of success with EVault and the dollars that organization has spent on helping its channel partners, a success Ayres said he hopes to see expand with i365. "My hope is the program doesn't become too bureaucratic," he said. "They have a good program."

In Seagate's fiscal year 2008, which ended in June, the revenue from the various services offerings grew 39 percent compared to the previous year. During that same time, headcount rose 35 percent to over 500 employees, Crandall said.

About 50 percent of the revenue of i368 comes from the channel, a figure the company hopes to increase, Crandall said. It recently hired Larry Sheffield as senior vice president of sales.

"Sheffield's a very channel-centric executive," she said. "He will be looking at our partner coverage model to see how to best engage our partner base. We expect by year-end to have a channel program that combines the different programs we have."