Alliance Storage Technologies, Inc. released an update on its January 2009 acquisition of key technologies from Plasmon. In the past several months, ATSI has re-established manufacturing and operational capabilities of the Plasmon product lines, including Ultra Density Optical (UDO). UDO media is based on a blue laser technology and claims a 50+ year archival data retention.
Along with manufacturing the drives, storage libraries and media under the Plasmon brand, ASTI has re-engaged development of new software releases, secured the supply chain and is rebuilding its channel and service networks.
In my opinion, customers should think of the Plasmon situation as a "near miss" scenario. While Plasmon seems to have found a loving home in ASTI, networking vendors are dealing the same economic issues that we all face, and frankly, a number of them may not survive the current environment.
In business continuity planning, there are many "What If's" that get asked: What if the data center is not accessible? What if our IT staff is not available? But "What if a vendor is no longer in business?" is a question we rarely ask. In many cases, the answer is irrelevant for many commodity items; for instance, servers can be swapped with equivalents from another vendor. Still, there are always components in the architecture, such as archiving, that might require specific hardware. Proprietary media, such as Plasmon's UDO with its 50+ year retention, needs a drive that can read it. Adopting these technologies is not a bad idea, but the viability of the vendor, as well as the company, should be factored into any purchasing decision.
Administrators and CIOs should keep an eye on all of the vendors they bring in house. Any good financial website will allow you to create a list of your publicly traded vendors and adding the company's press releases to your RSS feed will simplify keeping tabs on the latest news and information. Keep an eye on the rise and fall of these companies and have a backup plan for your backup plan.