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IBM sniffs around Storwize

$140m on the table for compression appliance maker

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IBM is reportedly looking to buy Storwize, which makes real-time compression appliances for primary data.

Storwize makes products such as the STN-6000. This sits in-band in front of a network-attached storage (NAS) array and compresses/decompresses data in real time with no loss of I/O performance. The company says customers can expect to achieve a 50 to 90 per cent reduction in data size, effectively increasing the capacity of their array by that much.

There is a lot of interest in reducing the size of primary data stores, with Permabit having introduced Albireo, its primary data deduplication software, last week.

Storwize was founded in 2004 by Gal Naor and Jonathan Amit, and is based near Tel Aviv In Israel. The founders subsequently moved its headquarters to the US, to Marlboro, MA, in 2008 to be nearer their main customers.

The company is backed by venture capital and has a wide array of storage supplier partnerships, including EMC, NetApp, HP, Isilon and many more. The current CEO is Ed Walsh, with Naor as president and Amit as chief technology officer.

There have been three rounds of funding: an A-round which netted around $10m; a B-round in June 2007 bringing in $9m; and a C-round in April 2008 which gathered $19m, making a total of $38m. If a deal is closed at the reported $140m level then that represents a satisfyingly big return for the investors and founders.

A side effect of this deal will be its probable positive effect on Exar and its Hifn BitWackr hardware deduplication and compression product. IBM's storage competitors may now be casting potentially avaricious eyes on Exar as a way of getting their own compression technology. ®

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