Hitachi Pockets Archivas

In rare storage acquisition, HDS makes CAS OEM partner its own property

February 7, 2007

3 Min Read
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Looking to make greater inroads in archiving and compliance, Hitachi Data Systems is buying its OEM partner Archivas. (See Hitachi Bags Archivas.)

Neither side would put a price on the deal, but industry sources say it was around $100 million.

Archivas ArC (Archivas Cluster) software falls into the category often called content addressable storage (CAS). (See In Depth: CAS and Archiving Gets a Refresh.) ArC is designed to store and manage unstructured data, placing it in a repository where it can be searched and accessed quickly for compliance purposes.

HDS struck an OEM deal with Archivas a year ago in hopes of catching up with rivals in archiving. (See Hitachi Heads for the Archives and Hitachi Picks Archiving Partner.) Copan Systems, EMC, Hewlett-Packard, IBM, Nexsan, and Network Appliance have hardware-based archiving system. Others taking a software approach include ByCast and Caringo.

Former New York Times CTO Andres Rodriguez founded Waltham, Mass.-based Archivas in 2003 after failing to find adequate digital archiving products. (See Archivas Arrivas.) By the time Archivas began shipping ArC software in 2004, EMC had already carved a place in the market with Centera, but Archivas positioned itself as an open and cheaper alternative.“We are truly the open alternative to EMC,” Archivas CEO Gary Voight says.

HDS began selling Archivas software on its hardware last June as its Hitachi Content Application Platform (HCAP). Now, Hitachi sees Archivas’ open architecture as the key to taking on market leader EMC’s proprietary CAS system. Archivas supports NFS, CIFS, and HTTP protocols natively without an API.

The acquisition is rare for HDS, which frequently strikes hardware and software partnerships but usually does not acquire companies. So why buy Archivas? Perhaps HDS execs worried somebody else would grab Archivas first. It’s also possible HDS will find greater uses for Archivas technology.

“The strategy for Hitachi is to look carefully at partnerships around make, partner, or buy, and this one fit the bill for buy,” says Jack Domme, HDS EVP of strategy and development. “We said, ‘Let’s use this IP from Archivas as the foundation to move into unstructured data management.’ ”

Analyst Brad O’Neill of the Taneja Group sees Archivas’ open architecture fitting with Hitachi’s virtualization strategy down the road.“Archivas plays nicely with Hitachi’s long-term heterogeneous virtualization strategy,” O’Neill says. “Archivas software is completely agnostic to the storage layer on which it resides. It's effectively an intelligent archiving interface into any kind of media pool. So, Archivas is a better fit for HDS than any of the other [archiving software] players in the space, no doubt.”

Hitachi executives say they anticipate retaining all of Archivas employees. Voight will become SVP of HDS’s archiving business unit.

Archivas pulled in $28 million over three rounds of VC funding. North Bridge Venture Partners, Polaris Venture Partners, and Solstice Capital are its investors.

— Dave Raffo, News Editor, Byte and Switch

  • Archivas Inc.

  • Bycast Inc.

  • Caringo

  • Copan Systems Inc.

  • EMC Corp. (NYSE: EMC)

  • Hewlett-Packard Co. (NYSE: HPQ)

  • Hitachi Data Systems (HDS)

  • IBM Corp. (NYSE: IBM)

  • Network Appliance Inc. (Nasdaq: NTAP)

  • Nexsan Technologies Inc.

  • North Bridge Venture Partners

  • Permabit Inc.

  • Polaris Venture Partners

  • Solstice Capital

  • Sun Microsystems Inc. (Nasdaq: SUNW)

  • Taneja Group

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