EMC acquires TwinStrata – innovation through acquisition

During EMC World this past May, EMC CEO Joe Tucci stated that EMC’s dual innovation strategy will consist of dedicating 10% of their annual revenues towards R&D and acquisitions. True to his word, EMC announced today that they have acquired TwinStrata. TwinStrata’s CloudArray software technology enables businesses to seamlessly attach their on-premise applications with cloud storage from providers like Amazon, Microsoft, Google and RackSpace. The idea is that organizations can use solutions like the CloudArray software product to create a low cost tier of storage in the cloud to decrease costs, improve data resiliency and to federate access to information on a global scale.

Some folks may be scratching their heads over this acquisition particularly in light of EMC’s extensive promotion of their Elastic Cloud Storage (ECS) offering during EMC World Show. Given the fact, however, that ECS is geared more for large enterprise environments, the CloudArray offering gives EMC immediate entree to those small to mid-sized enterprise environments that have a need to access low-cost cloud storage capacity.

During EMC World, EMC stated that once organizations exceed 5 PB’s of data under management, the economies favor managing that information in-house, over storing it with a public cloud provider. Solutions like ECS with ViPR, enable organizations to centrally manage and provision multiple tiers of storage, including highly data efficient object storage systems, like Atmos.

But clearly, many small to mid-sized enterprises are nowhere near the vicinity of managing multiple PB’s of data. These organizations need a cost-effective way of storing growing unstructured data volumes in the public cloud and solutions like the CloudArray can enable a relatively simple way to begin consuming low-cost cloud storage capacity.

TwinStrata’s CEO, Nikos Vekiarides, stated in his letter announcing the acquisition that they will be focusing on integrating CloudArray with the new VMAX3 enterprise data service platform to enable the tiering of workloads into off-premise storage to support backup and DR. These same capabilities will undoubtedly be extended to support the VNX storage family to allow businesses to migrate inactive data sets into the cloud for offsite protection and to maintain local, on-premises storage efficiencies.

Storage Swiss Take

This acquisition brings a very powerful capability to the entire EMC offering. Initially they can use TwinStrata as a gateway to move unstructured, semi-structured (Exchange, SharePoint) and backup data to public or private cloud storage targets like Amazon, Google and of course EMC’s own Atmos and ECS. Eventually it would not surprise us to see the TwinStrata technology directly integrated into all of the EMC storage offerings, not just the initial target of VMAX3.

Once complete, the auto-cloud migration capability would give EMC a compelling advantage versus the competition and we believe the competition will have to respond in short order. This could set off a series of cloud gateway purchases and Avere Systems, which we covered in a recent product analysis, would have to be considered at the top of the list.

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As a 22 year IT veteran, Colm has worked in a variety of capacities ranging from technical support of critical OLTP environments to consultative sales and marketing for system integrators and manufacturers. His focus in the enterprise storage, backup and disaster recovery solutions space extends from mainframe and distributed computing environments across a wide range of industries.

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