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Cisco And NetApp Invest In Datos IO, OEM Agreement With NetApp In The Works

Datos IO's application-aware data management technology fits well with NetApp's Data Fabric and Cisco's ACI and AppDynamics platforms.

NetApp and Cisco Systems have invested in Datos IO, a developer of application-centric data management. The startup's CEO also reveals that his company is pursuing an OEM relationship with NetApp.

Datos IO, founded in 2014, came to market in 2016 with a technology that manages multiple thousands of copies of data across multi-cloud and hybrid cloud environments, said Tarun Thakur, CEO and co-founder of the San Jose, Calif.-based company.

Before the investment from NetApp and Cisco, Datos IO had already raised about $15.25 million in venture funding, Thakur told CRN. He declined to discuss how much either company invested in Datos IO, other than to say both invested "millions." He did say their investment was not announced as a new funding round.

[Related: CRN Exclusive: NetApp CEO Kurian On The Cloud, Hyper-Converged Infrastructure, And A Very Successful Fiscal Quarter]

Neither Cisco nor NetApp responded to a request for more information by press time.

Datos IO already has technology relationships with NetApp and Cisco, Thakur said.

An OEM relationship is in the works between Datos IO and NetApp, Thakur said.

About 90 percent of Datos IO's customers are also clients that work with NetApp, including on NetApp's Data Fabric, he said. Data Fabric is NetApp's architecture for managing data across on-premises, private clouds, hybrid clouds, and public clouds.

"Datos IO has a building block for NetApp's Data Fabric," he said. "We're working with their customers. We're helping protect their customers' data in the cloud. But our solution is not bundled with NetApp."

The Datos IO technology fits well with the application-aware technology of AppDynamics, which Cisco acquired earlier this year, Thakur said.

App Dynamics will help Cisco go after the microservices business where the performance of data for applications is essential, he said.

"The value of the data is tied to its management," Thakur said. "But every company in the world is focused on LUN-centric or virtual machine-centric backups, and not application-centric backups. Think about it. If you are doing a Microsoft Sequel backup, you want a Sequel backup, not just a file backup."

Datos IO also has a solution that does data protection in the Cisco ACI, and is collaborating with Cisco on protecting data in UCS and HyperFlex hyper-converged infrastructure environments, he said.

Bringing Datos IO into Cisco and NetApp environments makes a lot of sense, said John Woodall, vice president of engineering at Integrated Archive Systems, a Palo Alto, Calif.-based solution provider and long-time partner to both Cisco and NetApp.

Both Cisco and NetApp are data-centric companies, and for them, part of their secret sauce is data protection in and around the cloud with application awareness, Woodall told CRN.

"A lot of what a company like Cisco or NetApp expects from a company that is new to the market is that they try to carve out a niche in application awareness," he said.

Cisco's ACI, for instance, would be a great play for Datos IO because of that application awareness, Woodall said.

For NetApp, such a technology could be a boon in the multi-cloud and hybrid cloud environments the vendor targets with its technology, he said.

"If you go one step further, look at NetApp's Data Fabric," he said. "Customers in a data-driven organization need to manage data in a consistent manner, including data protection, wherever the data is. NetApp has a wide range of data protection tools and has found a way to leverage its native tools. But it also provides CloudSync to AWS. For that, customers need something that doesn't care who the vendor is."

It makes sense that NetApp would invest in a company that could help expand its Data Fabric, Woodall said.

And, he said, there could be more there than just an investment from NetApp. "Since Datos IO is already talking OEM, I wonder if Datos IO might be looking for a W-2 change in the near future," he said.

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