IBM to Acquire Storage Company Storwize for its Unique Data Compression Capabilities

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IBM has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Storwize, a privately held company based in Marlborough, Mass. Storwize provides real-time data compression technology to help clients reduce physical storage requirements by up to 80%, improving efficiency and lowering the cost of making data available for analytics and other applications. With Storwize, IBM says, it is acquiring storage technology that is unique in the industry due to its ability to compress primary data, or data that clients are actively using, of multiple types - from files to virtualization images to databases - in real-time while maintaining performance. "This is in contrast to what we see our competitors doing, which is primarily focusing on compressing data that is inactive, or data at rest - backup data, as an example," explained Doug Balog, vice president of IBM Storage, during a conference call announcing the planned acquisition.

By compressing primary data, Storwize users can store up to five times more data using the same amount of storage, preventing storage sprawl and lowering power and cooling costs. Storwize's Random Access Compression Engine (RACE) is based on the industry-standard compression algorithm and uses Storwize's patented technology for real-time data compression without any performance degradation. "Storwize has 35 patents pending around this unique ability of doing real-time inline data compression," noted Balog.

With Storwize, analytics applications can improve decision making by scanning many more years of historical data from multiple sources without the need to add additional storage equipment. Compressing data in real-time can also help make data available up to four times faster for transaction workloads. "We all know the benefits and the way that analytics has changed the game today," stated Balog. "A client can take a petabyte of physical storage space and do analytics on that versus five petabytes in the same physical space - with five petabytes, they are going to see more data and therefore get a better answer at the end of the day, better clarity for whatever business outcome they are trying to achieve," he observed. "That is a great fit with analytics and compression."

Running Storwize data compression does not affect business and IT processes or other applications, does not require special skills to maintain, and product installation can be completed in as little as 4 hours, with little or no downtime, according to IBM. The Storwize appliance will work with popular NAS systems, including IBM N series and SONAS, as well as non-IBM NAS systems from EMC, HP, NetApp and others.

The acquisition is anticipated to close in the third quarter of 2010, subject to the satisfaction of customary closing conditions. Financial terms were not disclosed.  For more information on IBM Storage, go here.