In a move that could shake up the backup market down the road, StorageCraft announced the acquisition of the storage appliance company Exablox. Exablox is no stranger to Gestalt IT or Tech Field Day, and has been around for more than a little while. The combination of the two could make a compelling combined solution. The companies aren’t exactly strangers, they’ve had an OEM agreement in place since last October.
If you’re not familiar, Exablox makes a distributed object storage appliance called OneBlox. This presents the unified pool of storage with a simple NAS front end. This is a true scale out storage solution, and their differentiator has always been price. OneBlox operates on a BYOD model, so you’re only paying for the enclosure and software. The organization can choose how best to provision it for their needs.
I had a call with Sean Derrington, the Senior Director of Product Management with Exablox to get some of the details of the acquisition. It looks like this isn’t just an acquihire by StorageCraft. They are going to keep the Exablox brand and product line in place as is. In fact, their go to market strategy isn’t changing at all. Their OneBlox solution will still be offered.
As far as their future roadmap, obviously, their will be opportunities for synergy. StorageCraft’s backup and archiving solution seems to be a natural fit for OneBlox, especially in the secondary storage market, where their scale out model could really simplify a lot of deployments. But Sean was adamant that the BYOD model for OneBlox would not change. In his mind, neither Exablox or StorageCraft is able to add anything to the product by including drives by default, other than to increase overall cost to an enterprise and remove flexibility.
As far as the corporate leadership situation, it looks like there will be a lot of continuity as Exablox comes into the StorageCraft fold. Exablox CEO Doug Brockett will become the President of the combined company. VP of engineering for Exablox Ramesh Iyer Balan will stay on in the same capacity within the Exablox division, and CRO Shridar Subramanian will move into the VP of marketing for StorageCraft.
I always think it’s a little odd when a software makers wants to get into the hardware game. There’s always a risk of creating competition with your own clients. But in this case, the fit seems natural. Keeping Exablox as a standalone brand is a smart move by StorageCraft. It’ll be interesting to see down their roadmap how they will manage further integration, but a true scale out storage solution that has robust backup and archiving capabilities while being cost effective does have a nice ring to it.