IBM Buys FilesX for Continuous Data Protection Software
April 14, 2008 Timothy Prickett Morgan
Seeking to bolster its position in the continuous data protection (CDP) market, IBM last week acquired FileX, company located in Newton, Massachusetts, that was founded in 2000 by Jacob Herbst, who IBM midrange shops will remember as the cofounder of IIS, a maker of IBM-compatible SNA communications gear from back in the dawn of time.
FileX is one of the myriad companies out there trying to make operating systems, their applications, and their data more resilient without having to go full-tilt-boogie with high availability system clustering. For a lot of customers, particularly small and midrange shops, a CDP solution is more appropriate and affordable even if it does have some downtime associated with it. More importantly, CDP solutions work at the block level, capturing data as it changes once a snapshot of the systems being protected is taken, which makes it a very efficient form of data replication. What makes FileX unique among the CDP players in the Windows market–and why IBM will almost certainly deploy its newly acquired Xpress Restore CDP software on Linux, i-i5/OS, and AIX platforms as well as on the Windows it already supports–is that its distributed architecture of branch, hub, and restore networks for protecting a mix of remote and data center machinery means that customers can consolidate backups and restores while at the same time eliminating the backup windows, where applications have to be quiesced, that plague IT operations.
Like many software companies that IBM and others have been buying lately, FileX has a development lab located in Israel, in Haifa, to be precise. The financial terms of the acquisition were not disclosed because FileX is a privately held and relatively small (at least compared to IBM) company. The FileX CDP products are going to be folded into IBM’s Tivoli systems management unit, and IBM said in a statement that it intended for the FileX products to be melded into its Tivoli Storage Manager family of storage and archiving products. The software will complement IBM’s existing Tivoli Continuous Data Protection for Files product, which also only supports Windows desktop and server platforms. It seems very unlikely that IBM will not eventually offer some kind of CDP product for AIX, Linux, and i platforms, despite the numerous partners it has offering high availability, replication, and CDP products for these platforms. And the Integrated File System on OS/400, i5/OS, and i machines as well as any Samba file system running on AIX and Linux can probably already be backed up using either the existing Tivoli or FileX products, regardless of what the spec sheets say have been tested and certified.