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StorageCraft Buys Scale-Out Storage Vendor Exablox

The company’s second acquisition in four months, the deal positions StorageCraft to add mid-market customers and partners while accelerating its strategic shift from BDR vendor to comprehensive data management supplier. By Rich Freeman

StorageCraft Technology Corp. has acquired Exablox Inc., a maker of scale-out storage appliances headquartered in Sunnyvale, Calif. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

The move comes just three months after Draper, Utah-based StorageCraft announced an agreement to offer its BDR software as a pre-installed option on Exablox hardware.

“This is just a natural step for the partnership,” says Marvin Blough, StorageCraft’s vice president of worldwide sales.

StorageCraft has been thinking about buying Exablox since at least the inception of that alliance, which Blough calls “a testing of the waters” to gauge market enthusiasm for a solution combining StorageCraft software with Exabox’s object-based storage arrays. Those devices snap together like modular building blocks, allowing users to add capacity without the expense and disruption of a “forklift” upgrade. According to Blough, initial results of that experiment have been encouraging.

“We’ve had really, really strong interest,” he says. About half of Exablox customers were using the company’s hardware as a backup storage target even before its joint offering with StorageCraft became available, he continues. Purchasing those devices with BDR software already in place makes deploying secondary storage easier.

Exablox will operate as a subsidiary of StorageCraft with its own corporate identity and website. Current and future customers will remain free to buy Exablox appliances without BDR software on board, and to install business continuity systems from other suppliers on those devices.

“We’re not going to walk away from that business,” Blough says.

Significantly, Exablox will continue to have its own partner program as well. StorageCraft has no plans at present to roll that company’s channel program together with its own, though it may begin capitalizing on unspecified “synergies” between them in the second half of the year.

“Where it makes sense, we will definitely combine things that benefit partners,” Blough says.

For StorageCraft, purchasing Exablox extends a product portfolio that already included on-premises and off-premises BDR solutions as well as cloud-to-cloud backup, file backup, and data analytics offerings, positioning the company to market itself as an end-to-end data management provider rather than simply a BDR vendor.

Also, as Exablox focuses on companies with 200 to 5,000 employees and does some business with large enterprises, including Toyota and Lockheed Martin, buying the company arms StorageCraft to expand beyond its traditional base in small businesses.

“[It] allows us to become a lot more compelling to partners that service mid-market size customers,” Blough says.

StorageCraft expects partners that operate in-house or co-located data centers to become Exablox customers as well as resellers.

“A lot of times an MSP is the disaster recovery site for 20, 40, 50 of their customers,” Blough explains. “The combined [Exablox/ShadowProtect] solution here allows them to scale and be even more efficient.”

Exablox, for its part, gains access to the sales, marketing, and technical resources of a larger vendor with global reach from the deal unveiled today. That will ultimately mean good things for owners of Exablox hardware as well, Blough adds, citing as evidence plans to deploy some 50 new field-based Exablox technicians in the U.S. alone, resulting in faster local assistance with support issues.

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