It’s final – EMC acquires Data Domain

Just a quick post to highlight Data Domain’s announcement that they have agreed to be acquired by EMC.  As mentioned in previous posts (see related posts below), NetApp did not have the financial strength to compete with EMC.

The companies that have lost the most in this deal are Quantum and NetApp, and it will be curious to see how NetApp responds.  I discussed NetApp’s situation briefly in Tuesday’s post.


EMC one-ups NetApp

As expected, EMC has increased their bid for Data Domain and is now offering $33.50 per share in cash. Data Domain has been ignoring EMC in favor of their preferred suitor, NetApp; however, with the recent increase, Data Domain has no choice but to consider the EMC offer.

This situation leaves NetApp in a tough spot. James Bond describes the situation perfectly in the movie, For Your Eyes Only,

“I’m afraid we’re being out-horse-powered!”

NetApp wants to acquire Data Domain (and the feeling is mutual), but they are being out-horse-powered by EMC. NetApp does not have the financial strength to go head-to-head with EMC’s increasingly aggressive all-cash offers. NetApp must be evaluating how badly they want Data Domain and at what cost.


Poll: Who will acquire Data Domain?

Things have been quiet on the EMC/NetAppData Domain for the last couple of weeks.  DDUP’s stock price remains above NetApp’s current purchase offer ($30) which suggests that people think the bids will increase.  I also found some seemingly contradictory articles.  The Motley Fool suggests that EMC should back out of bidding for Data Domain because they cannot win.  Storage indicates that EMC has upped their offer to match NetApp which suggests the EMC thinks they can win.  At the very least, we know that EMC has extended their current offer.

As previously posted, I believe EMC will acquire Data Domain. Who do you think will be the acquirer?

  • EMC: They are committed and will win at any cost. (65%, 17 Votes)
  • NetApp: DDUP's board favors NetApp. (27%, 7 Votes)
  • A mysterious company C. (8%, 2 Votes)
  • Nobody, DDUP will remain independent. (0%, 0 Votes)

Total Voters: 26

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Deduplication Restore

Defragmentation, rehydration and deduplication

W. Curtis Preston recently blogged about The Rehydration Myth. In his post he discusses how restore performance on deduplicated data declines because of the method used to reassemble the fragmented deduplicated data on disk. He also addresses the ways various technologies attempt to overcome these issues, including disk caching, forward referencing (used by SEPATON’s DeltaStor technology) and built-in defrag. In this post I wanted to discuss the last option because it is a widely-used approach for inline deduplication that has some little-known pitfalls.


NetApp and Data Domain: ‘Til death or a better offer from EMC do we part

I recently blogged with my thoughts about EMC acquiring Data Domain, and wanted follow-up with a post discussing some key points about a NetApp/Data Domain merger. Since that last post there have been numerous changes including EMC suggesting that they might up their offer; the inevitable threat of a class action lawsuit, Data Domain endorsing the second NetApp offer and the government initiating an antitrust review. In this context I want to dissect some key points to consider regarding this acquisition.


NetApp is backed into a corner

Reuters indicates that EMC will up its bid for Data Domain to as much as $35 per share. As previously posted, Data Domain’s products will fit easily into EMC’s product line replacing EMC’s current Quantum-based appliances. With this increased offer, EMC is increasing the pressure on NetApp and reaffirming their commitment to acquire Data Domain.

What does this mean?


EMC and Data Domain: It was the best of times, it was the worst of times

I was surprised when NetApp offered $1.5B for Data Domain and was even more surprised when EMC countered with an all cash offer of $1.8B. NetApp has since upped their offer to $1.9B of cash and stock. It is in the context of this uncertainty that I wanted to comment on a possible EMC/Data Domain acquisition.

What about EMC’s DL3D product line?
EMC sells target deduplication solutions (DL3D product line) through a partnership with Quantum. These products compete directly with those from Data Domain and rely on similar technology. (Data Domain disclosed that it had licensed Quantum’s deduplication patents in their own IPO documents.) Even though EMC strengthened their commitment to Quantum by providing a $100 million loan back in March, the Data Domain announcement raises serious questions about EMC’s commitment to Quantum. If Quantum’s technology was really good, then why bid almost $2B for a competing technology especially since they could buy Quantum for less than half of this amount.

Some have suggested that EMC is bidding on Data Domain because they want to hurt NetApp. This is certainly a possibility. However, EMC provided a very strong counter-offer and has to recognize that they may own Data Domain in the end.


NetApp and EMC Duel to the Death for Data Domain

NetApp’s initial bid for Data Domain came as a surprise to many. EMC’s counter was even more of a shock. These discussions have very important implications for data protection and deduplication. Two thoughts immediately come to mind:

It’s hard to do deduplication well.
EMC and NetApp say that they have robust deduplication solutions in their DL3D (Quantum technology) and NearStore VTL series products. Before these negotiations, you might have believed them. Now, they are both bidding aggressively on Data Domain. What does that say about their confidence in their own solutions? Remember, these are large companies with hundreds (thousands?) of engineers with storage experience. Why wouldn’t they just build their own deduplication technology? The simple answer is that developing really good, enterprise-class deduplication technology is difficult.


Introducing DeltaRemote

With all the recent hype, you may have missed that SEPATON launched DeltaRemote a couple of weeks ago. DeltaRemote is a software upgrade for existing DeltaStor users and enables deduplicated replication between SEPATON VTLs. Some of the new features include:

  • Multi-node support – DeltaRemote leverages SEPATON’s DeltaScale architecture to use multiple nodes for replication. It’s fast and concurrent just like DeltaStor.
  • Fast restore performance at the remote site – I have discussed in the past how DeltaStor has some unique features to enable industry-leading restore performance. The same technology has been extended to the VTL on the remote site.
  • Simple management –Manage replication through SEPATON’s existing GUI. Detailed reporting and 30 day bandwidth efficiency analysis make planning and optimization a snap.
  • Cartridge level control – DeltaRemote provides complete tape cartridge level control of replication and recovery. You can easily set replication policies or manually choose cartridges to replicate or recover in the same format as tape libraries.

Stay tuned for more detailed information on DeltaRemote.


The Cloud, Company Size and Data Protection

StorageMojo recently wrote a blog post discussing the results of a study by twinstrata comparing the costs and availability of Google apps and Microsoft Office/Exchange. The study showed that the Google apps were cheaper than MS Office/Exchange for a 20 person firm and the options were similar for a 50 person company. The challenge in the larger company was the increased cost of data loss and downtime. This is a very informative finding and I wanted to highlight it in the context of data protection.