Deduplication Acquisition Puts Imation in Elite Class of Cloud-based Data Backup, Recovery and Archiving Providers

Choosing the right cloud-based archiving and backup solution may well be one of the most important – and difficult – decisions facing small and midsize organizations in 2012. However a recent acquisition by Imation should contribute to easing which solution organizations should choose in 2012. This acquisition did more than give Imation a cloud-based backup offering. It put Imation among an elite class of providers that offer both local and cloud-based data backup, recovery and archiving options from a single solution.

The news that Imation acquired Nine Technology, a provider of cloud-based backup and recovery services, in late December could have easily been missed at a time of the year when many are out of the office and/or on vacation. Yet the importance of the addition of Nine Technology’s deduplication and online backup services to Imation’s existing product portfolio should be neither dismissed nor overlooked. Instead Nine Technology gives Imation the right mix of products that results in what may now be one of the most compelling cloud-based archiving and backup solutions available on the market.

A recent poll shows that when organizations think about the cloud, they are most likely to view it in the context of either archiving or backup and leverage it in that way. However this same poll also reveals that organizations are still reticent to use the cloud due to perceived risks associated with doing so. These risks include:

  • The cost and overhead associated with moving their data into the cloud referred to as “cloud seeding”
  • Completing backups and recoveries in a timely manner
  • Efficiently transmitting and storing data in the cloud
  • Securely transmitting and storing their data in the cloud
  • Recovering data from the cloud

The issue has been that while the technologies to address these risks exist, they are generally not available from a single provider. Or, if they are, they are not affordably priced. Imation’s acquisition of Nine Technology changes that as Nine Technology immediately brings three important features into Imation’s existing product portfolio.

  1. Backup software. Backup appliances bundled with backup software and a server with ample disk space for storing backup data are one of the most desired solutions today in the arena of backup and recovery. The acquisition of Nine Technology gives Imation the additional onsite and cloud-based technology  it needs as it will be bundled with the Imation’s Data Protection and Archive appliance so small and midsize organizations can get both the hardware and backup and recovery software they need in a single secured solution.
  2. Deduplication. Deduplication has become a must-have technology to efficiently backup and store data both onsite and offsite. The acquisition of Nine Technology gives Imation the deduplication technology it needed to deliver on this modern day backup & recovery requirement. The protected data leaves the customer’s site in the most efficient and secure manner, stays that way at rest in Tier 1 data centers, and when needed, can do restores at speeds that are on par with industry leaders based on Imation’s internal lab tests.
  3. Scalability. Nine Technology uses a RAIN (Redundant Array of Independent Nodes) architecture so as an organization’s backup storage requirements grow, the solution can scale out to meet their growing backup needs by simply adding another backup node to the existing solution.

The three major features found in the Nine Technology solution coupled with the products and technology that are already part of Imation’s portfolio collectively address the concerns that many small and midsize organizations may still have about putting data in the cloud. Using these products from Imation, they may now look to confidently, cost-effectively and securely move their archival and backup data into the cloud in a time frame with which they are comfortable. Consider:

  • Archive or backup locally now and then move to the cloud later. If organizations first want to archive or backup data locally with the option to eventually move this data into the cloud, they can purchase Imation’s existing product and archive or backup data locally. They may then optionally move this data to the cloud when they are ready to do so. Further, when they do move data to the cloud, they are moving to a cloud owned and operated by Imation so they can have greater confidence that their data will be appropriately managed and secured.
  • The data is secured. In 2011 Imation acquired key security technologies from ENCRYPTYX, IronKey, and Memory Experts as a means to encrypt data stored on removable media, in the cloud or sent over the wire and then manage the keys needed to encrypt and decrypt the data stored in the cloud.
  • Move data in the most sensible manner. Sometimes it makes the most sense to send data over the WAN. Other times it makes more sense to send it on removable media. Imation gives organizations the flexibility to replicate it either way by using replication software available from Nine Technology or copying the data to its RDX media and then physically moving the RDX cartridge. In this way, they may move small amounts of data over the WAN (such as when doing incremental backups) or move large amounts of data using RDX (such as is needed when seeding the cloud or doing a large recovery) all through a single integrated solution.

The big news coming out of Imation is not that Imation bought Nine Technology at the end of 2011. While significant, what is more important is what the addition of Nine Technology’s backup software and deduplication technology means to organizations looking for an affordable, flexible and secure approach to cloud-based archiving and backup now have access to one.

By Imation acquiring Nine Technology and coupling that with the other technologies it has either built or acquired over the last few years, Imation has positioned itself as a solution that should be on every company’s short list for consideration as their preferred on-site and cloud-based data backup, recovery, and archiving provider. 

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