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Google's Actifio acquisition adds cloud DR, copy management

Google sees Actifio acquisition bolstering its disaster recovery and backup for Google Cloud Platform. No price was disclosed for the private company valued at more than $1 billion.

Google Wednesday said it will acquire data protection vendor Actifio, a copy data management and cloud backup company.

Actifio was the first vendor to bill its software as copy data management, and now often refers to its technology as data as a service. The Actifio Sky Copy Data Virtualization Platform includes a Virtual Data Pipeline application that lets customers reuse data for test/dev and other applications to reduce the number of copies an organization must store. It sells its software as virtual appliances or on physical devices.

Google disclosed the Actifio acquisition in a blog written by Brad Calder, vice president of engineering. The public cloud giant did not provide any financial details or when it expects to close the deal.

Calder called Actifio a leader in backup and disaster recovery, and said the private company offers customers "the opportunity to protect virtual copies of data in their native format, manage these copies throughout their entire lifecycle, and use these copies for scenarios like development and test." He added that the deal "further demonstrates Google Cloud's commitment to helping enterprises protect workloads on premises and in the cloud."

Google and Actifio executives were not available for comment Wednesday.

What Google gets with Actifio acquisition

Part of what makes Actifio attractive to Google is its ability to protect a wide range of applications, including traditional enterprise databases such as Oracle and Microsoft SQL Server, emerging database platforms such as SAP HANA, PostgreSQL and MySQL, hypervisors from VMware and Microsoft Hyper-V, physical servers and Google Compute Engine.

While Actifio has been around for a while, it doesn't have a huge install base -- about 3,600 customers -- so this acquisition is more about adding capabilities and technology versus footprint, said Matt Eastwood, senior vice president of enterprise infrastructure, cloud, developers and alliances at IDC. Cloud providers are recognizing the need among customers for backup and disaster recovery, and the Actifio acquisition makes it easier to enhance Google's offering than working on the technology in-house.

It gets them a jumpstart on what they're able to bring to market.
Matt EastwoodSenior vice president, IDC

"It gets them a jumpstart on what they're able to bring to market," Eastwood said. "It's a value play."

Still, the integration will take work and Google must walk a fine line with partnerships they have in the backup and recovery field, including top players Veeam, Cohesity and Rubrik, Eastwood said.

Krista Macomber, senior analyst at Evaluator Group, also said that acquiring versus developing will speed Google's time to market.

"It's early to say, but I think that Google Cloud can use Actifio to better support hybrid on-premises and public cloud environments, and to better support competitors' cloud environments, with data protection, management and mobility," Macomber wrote in an email. "Actifio does well when it comes to supporting complex enterprise apps like large databases with multiple interdependencies, so it's possible that the integration of Actifio's platform can also be used to better support these apps on Google Cloud."

Macomber also noted Actifio's strengths in copy data management, multi-cloud and database cloning.

In addition, Actifio has a near instantaneous block-to-object conversion technology that could be difficult for Google to build, according to John Webster, senior partner at Evaluator Group.

Google is taking a different approach to the enterprise than AWS, one of its chief rivals. While AWS is focusing on business innovators and positioning itself above the technology, Google is trying to appeal more to enterprise IT and will likely reposition to meet its own customer needs, Eastwood said.

Actifio's history includes large funding rounds

Actifio and Google have worked closely together on services. Actifio GO for GCP launched in 2019, providing SaaS backup for data stored on premises and in Google Cloud Platform. Last June, Actifio added data protection for Google Cloud's Bare Metal Solution.

Headshot of Actifio CEO Ash Ashutosh Ash Ashutosh

Former Hewlett Packard storage executive Ash Ashutosh started Actifio in 2009 and remains the CEO. Actifio, based in Waltham, Mass., launched its first product in 2011 and helped coin the phrase "copy data management." The vendor steadily expanded its data protection capabilities, and now competes with most of the major backup software vendors such as Veritas, Dell EMC, Veeam, Commvault, Cohesity and Rubrik.

Actifio filed a patent infringement lawsuit against Rubrik in June, claiming Rubrik's Brik appliances and Cloud Data Management software copied four Actifio patents.

Actifio is considered a unicorn -- a private company worth more than $1 billion. It raised more than $300 million in venture funding, including $100 million rounds in 2014 and 2018.

Google is the second large vendor to acquire a data protection software company to bolster its disaster recovery capabilities in 2020. VMware bought disaster-recovery-as-a-service startup Datrium for $137 million in July.

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