IBM Acquires Cleversafe To Accelerate Hybrid Cloud Storage Strategy

This morning IBM announced plans to acquire Cleversafe, a Chicago-based data storage vendor. The move appears to be a way to shore up IBM’s hybrid cloud storage chops.

Terms of the deal were not available.

Cleversafe was founded in 2004, and was well ahead of its time when it came to anticipating the big data revolution. According to its website, the company foresaw the coming data onslaught and redesigned data storage to deal with it. Companies like Lockheed Martin, HP and IBM, which bought it today became partners with the startup over the years.

“The company uses unique algorithms to slice data into pieces and reassemble the information from a single copy, rather than simply making multiple copies of the data, which is how storage traditionally has been done. As a result, Cleversafe can store data significantly cheaper and with greater security,” according to a statement released by IBM.

In fact, Cleversafe owns over 350 patents related to this technology.

The company works with customers with massive amounts of data including Shutterfly for photo storage and Sky for media storage.

The purchase is likely aimed at helping IBM customers deal with the growing amount of unstructured multimedia data with photos, videos and audio files, which create huge files requiring massive amounts of storage.

But it also fits in with IBM’s growing commitment to helping customers build a hybrid bridge to the cloud. IBM has been making big moves in hybrid cloud as part of its overall cloud strategy over the last couple of years. By now, it’s well known that they have the infrastructure/platform/SaaS pieces in place with SoftLayer, Bluemix and its SaaS portfolio.

The company clearly recognizes that not all workloads can translate easily to the cloud, so it’s developing a strategy that is aimed at helping customers build a hybrid approach where some workloads sit on-prem and some in the cloud.

Cleversafe’s Dispersed Storage Network sits on-prem and should dovetail with IBM’s own Spectrum Storage tools. IBM anticipates Cleversafe becoming part of Softlayer’s Object Storage Services.

IBM plans to fold Cleversafe into its Cloud unit once the deal has been finalized. While IBM has a great deal of experience incorporating acquired pieces into its cloud unit — much of the unit has been purchased — it’s always hard to know how well these kinds of mergers work until they company has been fully incorporated and the acquired company’s employees adjust to life inside the big corporation.

Cleversafe has over 200 employees and has raised more than $100 million to-date.