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IMT Software cracks open SoDA data management

Integrated Media Technologies, an MSP targeting media and entertainment, expanded into software development with SoDA, an unstructured data management tool.

Integrated Media Technologies Inc. popped open a SoDA with the launch of its new software division.

SoDA, which stands for Software-Defined Archiver, is a data management and movement application for unstructured data. It can move data between SMB and NFS files and S3 object storage, either by set policy or on-demand. SoDA also has filtering capabilities to help find the data that needs to be moved. The tool also has insight and reporting capabilities so that a system administrator knows the speed and cost of the data movement before it happens. Although designed to optimize the cost of moving data between on-premises and cloud storage, SoDA can move data from one NAS to another NAS as well.

Integrated Media Technologies (IMT) sells SoDA as SaaS, with a monthly subscription that includes unlimited data transfer.

IMT's core business is as a managed service provider (MSP) for media and entertainment companies, specializing in consulting, backup and recovery, security and archiving. The company was founded in 2007 and has over 800 customers, and according to IMT president Jason Kranitz, it sold over half an exabyte of storage systems last year. IMT launched a new software development division, called IMT Software, and SoDA is its first product.

Kranitz said SoDA had been in development for two years prior to launch. He said he noticed a need for an intelligent data mover as customers started using the cloud more. That need has only grown over time and has reached a boiling point because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

"People are moving to the cloud faster than ever because of COVID-19," Kranitz said.

IMT Software is solely focused on SoDA for now, Kranitz said, as there are already demands for more capabilities. SoDA currently works with AWS, with Azure and Google Cloud integration on the immediate roadmap, followed by other public clouds and private cloud vendors. Kranitz added he is also receiving customer requests for multisite and multi-cloud support, as well as for tying in AI capabilities.

Scott Sinclair, senior analyst at Enterprise Strategy Group, said unstructured data growth is especially prevalent in media and entertainment, which is IMT's core business. Sinclair described the entertainment industry as a business model where the creation of the data -- the gathering of the raw footage -- and the transformation of that data into the final product often happen at different places. Not only is remote work up significantly, but movie theaters have closed due to COVID-19, increasing a desire to consume media at home. This change in how the final product is distributed to consumers is an additional challenge for the media industry.

"This is an industry where demand has increased, but the operations to create content have become more difficult," Sinclair said.

Sinclair said there are similar products to SoDA for categorizing unstructured data and moving it intelligently across a heterogeneous environment, from vendors such as Data Dynamics, Aparavi and Igneous Systems. He said one of the ways SoDA stands out is that it removes egress charges for customers by wrapping it into its subscription fee.

Sinclair said the biggest problem with unstructured data growth is it's something businesses tend not to address until it reaches a breaking point. Not enough companies prioritize it in their budgets because the traditional solution was to throw hardware at it. Improperly managed data can lead to longer and unnecessary backups, wasted high-performance storage for infrequently used data and other inefficiencies. Unfortunately, it's often impossible to pinpoint when the cost of not having data management tools becomes higher than investing in those tools.

"It's a problem every company runs into when they reach a certain scale," Sinclair said.

Sinclair said the best ways for a new product in this market to flourish would be to focus on a specific vertical and remain as hardware-, software- and cloud-agnostic as possible. One of the ways SoDA can carve out its niche is by becoming the perfect unstructured data management tool for media and entertainment, because those needs are likely different for genomics or healthcare.

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