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By | Chris Mellor 20th February 2012 07:03

IBM, Actifio to help wannabe providers take on cloud giants

Thin copying partnership

There's thin provisioning and there's thin copying, which Actifio provides. IBM likes what it sees and is partnering Actifio with a get-you-into-the-cloud offer for wannabe service providers. The pitch is that you need far less disk storage and fewer storage-specific applications so that you can offer out cloud services while not paying existing storage hardware and software prices.

How is this trick pulled off? It's Actifio's PAS (Protection and Availability System) software, which copies production data and then its changed blocks using Virtual Data Pipeline technology, and then stores it in deduplicated form. It then presents virtual copies of it, at desired points in time, to all applications that need a copy of the data.

You no longer need backup and restore software, DR software, business continuity software, test and dev copies of the data, or copies of the data for analytics. In fact you basically need just two copies of your data: the production version, and Actifio's PAS copy, like an Apple Time Machine backup in a way. All the different copy silos are converged onto one PAS silo with multiple virtual copies presented from it.

Big Blue and Actifio say: "By combining server, storage and data management virtualisation technologies, with a purpose-built Service Level Agreement (SLA)-driven operational model, Actifio and IBM will be able to deliver solutions that break down the cost, complexity and operational barriers to cloud-based storage solutions."

It means that VARS and other wannabee cloud service providers – the ones without the scale of Amazon, Google, Joyent or Rackspace or a hosting/co-lo organisation – can get into the cloud and make money offering services because their own data centre costs will be cheaper through this Actifio copy reduction software. The two claim service provider's costs could be lowered by up to 90 per cent because of it.

NaviSite is on board. Its president, R Brooks Borcherding, said: “The combination of Actifio and IBM … allows us to deploy a more cost effective network, better manage our data, and deliver new self-service enhancements. As a result, our customers gain increased visibility and management control over their cloud storage environments from NaviSite.”

In the combined offer, PAS supports IBM's DS3500 Express, V7000, XIV, and SVC storage hardware and software. IBM, with its reach, is a great partner for Actifio and its CEO and founder, Ash Ashutosh, reflected this in his canned statement: “With technology crossing the tipping point, VARs can become service providers and, along with existing service providers, deliver differentiated data management services quickly and cost-effectively, supported by IBM’s global delivery capabilities.”

Waltham, Massachusetts-based Actifio has over 100 customers and has recently opened an office in the UK. ®

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