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IBM snaps up FilesX, adds CDP to Tivoli Storage Manager

The Windows-focused FilesX product will add CDP capabilities to IBM's Tivoli Storage Manager backup software, with the goal of widening CDP's appeal in the midmarket, as well as remote offices.

IBM announced Thursday that it has acquired FilesX Inc. for an undisclosed amount. Its continuous data protection (CDP) software will be folded in to IBM's Tivoli Storage Manager (TSM) backup application and be marketed primarily to midmarket and branch office customers.

According to a prepared statement by Al Zollar, Tivoli Software general manager, "The FilesX acquisition would complement IBM's vision of enterprise data protection by adding critical capabilities for remote offices … It would also reinforce IBM's midmarket strategy by adding a simple and easy-to-use full data protection solution -- one that also is attractive to enterprise remote offices and departmental situations."

FilesX is one of the many startups that learned an emphasis on CDP isn't enough to make it in the world of data protection. According to Taneja Group analyst Arun Taneja, FilesX has been inconsistent with its message and has had "on again/off again" visibility in the market … like many of its competitors. Most of the original CDP players have either been acquired (Revivio, snapped up by Symantec in Dec. 2006 and yet to be re-released) or gone out of business (Mendocino, which finally shut its doors earlier this year with just five customers).

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"The fundamental mistake many of these guys made was saying CDP was good for everything and selling technology rather than a solution," Taneja said. In more recent times, FilesX has "tightened up its messaging" to focus on granular recovery for specific applications, such as Exchange and SQL Server. "The pain level around Exchange is still very high, and the companies with CDP that are still succeeding, like InMage, Teneros and Neverfail, have been presenting it as an Exchange solution," he said. "That's probably how TSM will use it, too."

Gartner analyst Dave Russell added that IBM is probably trying to capitalize on its success in the SOHO market with IBM's CDP for Files, which at last count has sold 75,000 licenses. "Whether the customer is an upper-midsize corporation or a large enterprise with remote office or departmental needs, those environments tend to be Windows-centric, and IBM wants to extend its hand there as well."

As such, the addition of FilesX probably won't appeal to most existing TSM customers right away, but Russell also pointed out that the Windows bare-metal restore capability that FilesX announced recently could make it more attractive to IBM enterprise accounts. "IBM has always partnered for this, and they've gone through a number of different partners," he said. "It's not something that'll happen overnight, but it's a capability that could be harvested in the future."

The last big company to acquire a CDP startup has already found that out. Revivio's intellectual property has yet to see the light of day in Symantec's NetBackup product, but company officials said it's on track to appear this year. Symantec senior product marketing manager Tyler Carter said that Veritas NetBackup will have CDP this summer from the technology acquired from startup Revivio in 2006. "We've taken time to integrate it into NetBackup," he said. "Customers want it as part of their backup application, rather than as a separate tool."

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