IBM Buys Aspera, A File Transfer Company That Counts Apple And Netflix As Customers

IBM is acquiring Aspera, a bootstrapped file transfer company that counts media companies, SaaS providers and large enterprises as customers. Aspera has many enterprise use cases, including sending large amounts of genome data and feature-length movies. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Aspera’s software is built on “fasp,” its patented file transfer technology. Fasp is designed to leverage a company’s wide area network (WAN) and commodity hardware to achieve speeds that are faster than FTP and HTTP over a secure network. A WAN is essentially a company’s network across a large geographic region. Aspera’s technology optimizes the WAN through its software that allows for granularity in the way the technology is used. Through the process, Aspera optimizes the bandwidth, latency, bottlenecks and a host of other factors.

Apple uses Aspera for video uploads to the iTunes store. Before they started using Aspera it sometimes took content providers 3.5 hours to upload large video files. With Aspera, the content provider reported the time for upload decreased to five minutes.

IBM sees an opportunity to provide customers with a file transfer tool that will be needed as more data becomes available through social media, devices and sensors attached to almost everything we know. Sensors will be on the furniture in our homes, the cars we drive, even our own bodies. It will turn everything that we know into a data object requiring more innovation in how data moves around.

The “cloud” and “big data” get lots of mention in the IBM press release about the acquisition. It can be expected that IBM will highlight its file transfer capability as part of its cloud computing strategy. IBM is showing renewed vigor in the cloud computing market. Earlier this year the company acquired SoftLayer and yesterday it announced a partnership with 21Vianet, a hosting company to provide “enterprise” workloads to customers in China.

The WAN optimization market will hit $4.4 billion by 2014, according to Gartner Research. The IBM Sterling Commerce group also provides high-speed file transfer as do a broad set of other companies that include Ipswitch, Tibco and Globalscape.

(Feature image via Flickr)