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Quantum To Acquire Western Digital's ActiveScale Business

Quantum will gain access to a solid object storage technology that will complement its higher-performance StorNext file storage, says Eric Bassier, senior director of product management at Quantum.

Quantum, in a bold move for a company that only recently returned to profitability, plans to acquire the ActiveScale object storage business from Western Digital.

With the acquisition, Quantum will gain access to a solid object storage technology that will complement its higher-performance StorNext file storage, said Eric Bassier, senior director of product marketing at San Jose, Calif.-based Quantum.

The planned acquisition of Western Digital's ActiveScale business comes just days after Quantum unveiled its first profitable quarter for some time and was moved from the over-the-counter pink sheets to a listing on the Nasdaq stock exchange. The return to profitability comes after a couple of years of financial problems including a long-standing U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission audit that only recently concluded.

[Related: Quantum CEO Jamie Lerner: Relisting On Nasdaq, Returning To Profitability, Refocusing On Video]

Western Digital's ActiveScale technology has its roots in the company's 2015 acquisition of AmpliData, developer of the ActiveScale object storage technology.

With the sale of its ActiveScale business, Western Digital has nearly completed its exiting of the data center business. San Jose, Calif.-based Western Digital in September sold its IntelliFlash all-flash storage array business, formerly known as Tegile, to DataDirect Networks, or DDN.

Quantum's acquisition of ActiveScale is slated to close before the end of March, Bassier told CRN.

Bassier said the planned acquisition is pretty significant given that the agreement came on the same day Quantum was listed on the Nasdaq exchange, marking the end of its first phase of its transition to being a financially healthy company.

"We're starting phase two, with a focus on growth," he said. "And we're starting it off with a bang with the acquisition of ActiveScale. You can expect Quantum to see growth both organically and via acquisitions."

Quantum believes that object storage, particularly erasure-coded object storage, will be fundamental to managing storage in the coming years, Bassier said. Quantum's StorNext high-performance active archiving technology has been integrated with ActiveScale in the channel for some time, he said.

"Customers are using StorNext for high-performance data sets, and ActiveScale for object storage," he said. "The acquisition will let us build complete solutions for video and video-like data."

Quantum's planned acquisition of ActiveScale is important on two fronts, said Lance Hukill, president of StorExcel, a Denver-based systems integrator and solution provider with a focus on digital media and a partner on both technologies.

First, Hukill told CRN, Quantum gets additional intellectual property, particularly erasure coding and object storage, and fills in a gap in its product line.

The second is that it removes uncertainty from customers using the ActiveScale object storage technology, he said.

"When Western Digital sold IntelliFlash to DDN, people were unclear what would happen to ActiveScale," he said. "Western Digital said at the time that it was looking to sell ActiveScale, and it transferred some of its ActiveScale personnel to other areas. End users had heard all of that. Now they can breathe a sigh of relief."

Hukill said Quantum's StorNext offering has a big share of the tier-one storage market for the media business.

"When customers look to move their data off tier-one storage, they typically look to tape or cloud," he said. "But customers who are anti-tape and anti-cloud need an alternative. Now we can approach our clients with an all-Quantum solution, minus the cloud part."

Bassier declined to discuss details related to the transaction, but he did note that Quantum will get ActiveScale's core engineering, sales and support teams with the acquisition.

"We'll be able to provide continuity of experience to partners and customers," he said.

There are no plans to marry the ActiveScale and StorNext technologies, Bassier said. StorNext already tiers data to third-party object storage technologies, he said.

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