Breece Hill Acquires Avail, Brings Storage Software To Channel

Breece Hill, which manufactures tape automation, optical storage and disk-to-disk-to-tape (D2D2T) appliances, decided that bundling Avail's Integrity data backup, migration, replication and archive software was not enough.

Christopher Stone, director of business development at Breece Hill, said the Louisville, Colo.-based company has been using Avail's software in its iStoRA D2D2T appliance since May. Breece Hill decided to acquire Avail, Escondido, Calif., as part of a strategic move to enter the storage software space, where it can add more value to its products and channels.

"We wanted to become more of a data management company and less of a storage company," Stone said. "Look. SAIT tape fits a half-Tbyte of data on a cartridge now, and that's going to be 4 Tbytes in a couple of years. You try finding data on a 4-Tbyte tape cartridge."

Dennis Bress, national sales manager of the Broadcast Division of Computer Upgrade, a Corona, Calif.-based solution provider, said Avail's software is a critical component to Breece Hill's integrated appliance and a foundation for the D2D2T needs of his customers in the geophysical, broadcast, health-care and financial-services industries.

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D2D2T has become a popular buzz word in the storage industry, Bress said. It is also a technology that customers are adopting.

"For Windows and/or Unix and/or Apple over a Gbit Ethernet interface, [D2D2T] allows for data to be written from where it is stored to disk within the Breece Hill storage box," Bress said. "Once it is written to disk, it frees the network. Avail verifies that data was backed up to disk, tells the network to go back and do other tasks and then backs the data to tape."

Avail software is currently available through a handful of solution providers and a couple of small OEMs, including Incentra Solutions, formerly known as ManagedStorage International, Stone said.

The company's software is also bundled by such storage vendors as First Intelligent Array (FIA), a San Clemente, Calif.-based NAS vendor.

Stone said those deals should not be affected by the acquisition.

Avail was founded by the same people who founded Platinum Technology, a developer of network and storage management software that was acquired by Computer Associates in 1999, Stone said.

The vast majority of Breece Hill's business comes from the company's 200 to 300 solution providers, with a small part coming from OEMs and none from direct sales, said Stone.

The company currently has no distribution partners in the United States, but that might change soon. "Keep your eyes on the screen," Stone said.