Quantum Acquires Symform, Plans To Bring Cloud-Based Backups To Enterprise

Quantum is expanding its cloud-based backup capabilities with the acquisition of Symform's cloud storage technology and its development team.

Quantum on Thursday unveiled the acquisition, but declined to discuss financial details, including how much it paid for Symform or Symform's profit and loss record.

Quantum did not assume any liabilities of Symform, which still exists as a separate entity despite selling its technology and development team to Quantum, said Janae Lee, senior vice president of strategy for San Jose, Calif.-based Quantum.

[Related: File Sync And Share: Channel In Demand To Help Business Users]

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The Symform acquisition is a move Quantum felt it needed to build its cloud backup business, Lee told CRN.

While traditionally best known for its tape storage business, Quantum also has its DXi disk-based backup and deduplication solution, as well as Q-Cloud Protect, a service for backing up DXi data to the cloud, Lee said. The company also offers Lattus Object Storage, a series of high-performance appliances for keeping multiple copies of data across a company's remote data centers as a sort of private cloud, she said.

"But customers have been asking us for functionality to back up data to the cloud," she said. "Symform gives us that capability, as well as cloud archiving and file sync and share technology. These capabilities can sometimes be blurry. One man's file sync and share is another man's backup."

Symform, which in late 2009 came out of stealth mode, develops distributed cloud backup technology that protects a customer's data by breaking it into tiny blocks, encrypting those blocks and then dispersing them across excess capacity on multiple customers' storage devices. The company raised a total of $20 million in funding, Lee said.

Symform's technology is currently targeted more at the prosumer and small business market, but that will change as a result of the acquisition, Lee said.

"But it brings us technology we can add to for future enterprise offerings," she said. "A lot of cloud technology is very consumer-centric, and needs to be configured properly and integrated with other applications for use in the enterprise."

Quantum's acquisition of Symform makes a lot of sense because of the storage vendor's focus on data protection, said Dan Molina, CTO at Nth Generation Computing, a San Diego-based solution provider and long-time Quantum partner.

NEXT: Understanding Symform's Place In Quantum

"Adding cloud-based data protection is important for Quantum," Molina told CRN. "But I'm not sure how it will compete with the big guys like Amazon with its Glacier offering. Glacier is super low-cost backup, but is slow for recovery. But then again, the industry needs to provide more choices to customers."

Quantum has great data protection technology, and has been good as a channel partner, Molina said. "With Symform coming on-board, we'll have to talk to Quantum soon," he said. "We look forward to strategizing on how to go to market with Symform in the channel."

While Lee declined to talk about Symform's financials, she did mention that Symform currently serves about 45,000 individual and small business customers. "This shows the success of the platform," she said.

Prior to Symform, Quantum's last acquisition was that of Pancetera in 2011. The Pancetera technology, now known as vmPRO, allows virtual servers to be backed up to Quantum's DXi appliances.

Both Symform and vmPRO have at their core the ability to back files up in their native format, and to recover those files to any device, including to a smart phone, Lee said.