IBM buying Diligent?

De-dupe vendor eyed by Big Blue

Israeli online media outlet Globes [online] reports that IBM and Diligent are in talks about Diligent being bought by Big Blue.

A figure of $200 million is mentioned.

Oddly IBM has just bought Isreali storage company XIV, for $300 million, which was led by Moshe Yanai, the inventor of EMC’s Symmetrix storage array. Yanai was a co-founder of Diligent and is a director of the concern whose CEO is the confident Doron Kempel (pictured left), the other co-founder.

Diligent produces ProtecTIER inline de-duplication technology and claims its HyperFactor technology, with its in-memory indices,  is up to five times faster than competing products such as the one from Data Domain.

Diligent has OEM and resale agreements with Sun (non-exclusive), Overland Storage and Hitachi Data Systems, also Nexsan. The Nexsan deal was signed in 2005 and appears to have lapsed.

Diligent also produces VTF virtual tape library software for open systems and mainframes.

It was established as a spin-off from EMC Israel in 2002. Kempel, an ex-EMC employee, bought an EMC Tel Aviv facility and its VTF software, and the deal involved EMC having 24 percent of Diligent stock and a reseller deal for the VTF software.

EMC bought Avamar in 2006, another de-duplication company. It has second de-dupe technology supply arrangement with FalconStor and is rumoured to be sourcing a third de-dupe technology from Quantum.

In August 2007 Diligent completed a Series D funding round which gained $10.5 million taking its total fuunding to $46.5 million. There are more than 100 ProtecTIER customers using the product.

IBM seems to have changed its approach to storage. After distancing itself from disk array manufacture with the spin-off of Xyratex it now seems to be intent on buying storage technology. The company hasn’t articulated why its strategy apears to have changed.

De-duplication means that a storage array can hold up to twenty or more times its raw capacity once data in files which is repeated across the files is stripped out and replaced by pointers. As unstructured file data grows and grows in size the advantages of doing this become stronger. On this basis there would seem to be a good fit between the XIV clustered storage technology and Diligent.

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