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EMC Buys 'One Time' Backup Protection

EMC  continued its rally around data protection software, agreeing to acquire privately held Avamar Technologies for $165 million in cash.

Avamar, a privately held company based in Irvine, Calif., makes data-protection software called Axion, which uses a special data de-duplication technology to back up data only once across a company's global offices.

The software identifies redundant data segments at the source to reduce the amount of network bandwidth used and data stored. This enables customers to realize a 300:1 daily reduction in data for their business applications.

Reducing the data glut is a huge deal for corporations struggling to keep e-mail inboxes from bursting and the increase in fat audio and video files from stalling bandwidth pipes.

Mark Sorenson, EMC's senior vice president of information management software, said data protection is still top of mind for all companies but that no one is really happy with their current methodologies in the face of the data glut.

This is where de-duplication comes in as a disk-based alternative to traditional, increasingly unreliable tape storage.

"We think this is a foundational technology that someday may be as important to storage vendors and customers as RAID  is today," Sorenson said.

The deal also makes sense because Avamar has built Axion to work with EMC's Clariion disk storage systems and Centera archiving machines, said Jed Yueh, Avamar founder and senior vice president.

Axion also covers tape storage, working with EMC's NetWorker tape backup systems.

Avamar has a number of rivals in the market, including Data Domain, Diligent, Asigra and larger players, such as Quantum through ADIC) and Symantec  (through Veritas).

But Sorenson said Avamar's "de-deplication efficiency is the best in the industry, bar none," noting that Avamar has more than 400 installations in large companies, some of which are also already EMC customers.

Should the deal close within 30 days as expected, Avamar will be tucked into EMC's storage product group, with Avamar CEO Ed Walsh reporting directly to Sorenson.

The deal comes two days after EMC reinforced its disk-based backup strategy with the latest version of the company's RecoverPoint continuous data protection software for making point-in-time copies of data.

RecoverPoint was spruced up with long-distance replication and continuous data protection software from EMC's acquisition of Kashya Technologies

Designed to round out EMC's data protection story follwing the integration of Kashya technology into RecoverPoint, the Avamar buy is also a return to storage-centric plays in the wake of EMC's major purchase of security software maker RSA Security.