RealTime IT News

HP Storage Buy Finds One in a Million

HP today agreed to acquire partner OuterBay, a top provider of archiving software for enterprise applications and databases.

Financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

OuterBay's software is used to manage database clutter and improve database performance. The Cupertino, Calif., company's Application Data Management suite shuttles data between storage tiers, ensuring free access to archives across applications, platforms and storage systems.

OuterBay's software is prized for its ability to zero in on one file in a sea of millions, a crucial feature for corporate customers wary of audits.

Expected by some experts to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 50 percent over the next few years, database archiving is one ingredient to help corporations meet federal compliance deadlines for record retention.

This has made startups like OuterBay and Princeton Softech attractive in the eyes of companies looking to fill out information lifecycle management (ILM) strategies for capturing and policing information from its creation to its destruction.

HP, which bought AppIQ last year, already has a fairly deep storage portfolio covering data protection, e-mail archiving and storage-management technologies.

The Palo Alto, Calif., company is hoping to capitalize before the database archiving market enters its big growth spurt.

HP has partnered with OuterBay for roughly a year. Last September, HP leveraged the pairing in Reference Information Manager (RIM) for Database Archiving, software based on OuterBay technology.

But HP officials said acquiring OuterBay will give the company a reach into the back-end layer it lacked, boosting its solution set for customers running Oracle, Microsoft and Sybase databases, as well as enterprise applications from Oracle, SAP and PeopleSoft.

Frank Harbist, vice president and general manager of ILM and storage software in HP's StorageWorks division, said OuterBay can help the company boost its server and services businesses.

For example, he said HP envisions scenarios where OuterBay's software could be bundled with HP's Integrity servers and Oracle software. Some 60 percent of HP's Integrity customers pair the server with Oracle applications and databases. Moreover, HP has a plan to tightly tie servers and storage together.

"This is a huge opportunity for HP to drive forward in the database application market," said Harbist, whose StorageWorks group will absorb OuterBay and its roughly 60 employees.

"It's a very large and growing market," he told internetnews.com. "We've seen a trend where customers are looking for how to get more done with what they have and handle large and ever-growing volumes of information they're putting into their database environments."

OuterBay's OEM partners include HP rivals EMC, IBM and Sun Microsystems. Harbist said HP's goal is to preserve those relationships.