Today Autonomy announced that it is acquiring Iron Mountain Digital’ assets. This means a couple of things:

  • Iron Mountain found a buyer
  • Autonomy validates the on-line back-up market
  • Cloud based business according to Autonomy implies value-add

Iron Mountain on April 19 announced its intention to sell Iron Mountain Digital. It was partly a decision to appease an investor, but certainly spoke volumes on the prospect of making money in the Cloud. Iron Mountain can restructure itself and cease with its Cloud business.

Autonomy is happy to spend $380M to get the 6,000 Iron Mountain on-line backup customers and 6PB of storage assets. Autonomy also expresses its intention to continue offering standard data protection services aimed at mobile, PC and server platforms. Rainmaker is currently preparing a market sizing study on Cloud based DR and the Iron Mountain decision to sell worried some of the players we spoke to at the time. We understand that not only is the business Autonomy is buying profitable, but there is plenty of scope to make it more efficient.

Autonomy is also outlining that its Cloud vision adds value through ‘regulatory compliance, legal discovery and analytics‘. Autonomy is clearly a business that understands search and analysis, so by extending the delivery into the Cloud is a bet that customers will increasingly want to add these services in the Cloud.

Would Autonomy have bought the Iron Mountain business just to get into data protection market? The answer is no, but Autonomy wants much more than the protection revenues. Once data is stored in Autonomy’s Cloud, customers can be offered the additional search and analysis services it would not otherwise be able to perform unless customers were persuaded to buy its software. If Autonomy is committed to provide data protection, then it may be an add-on, but not a trivial add-on. So if the data protection sector had hoped that the Autonomy validation would benefit everyone, Autonomy has got bigger ideas.

Rainmakers note: The providers of cloud based DR obviously need to understand the key decision making criteria when customers seek to place the task with 3rd parties. Autonomy is adding intelligence to its cloud platform which will be difficult for the smaller providers to replicate without OEMing the software. DR is always a justified task, but Autonomy is also redefining the role of cloud based archive where companies like Nirvanix operate.
Image credit: danielepollice

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