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Western Digital expands into the data protection business

The Irvine-based hard disk manufacturer sets its sights on network computing with its latest acquisition

by Gabriel CortésPublished: January 28, 2013 08:45 AM

Western Digital, the ubiquitous hard disk and computer chip manufacturer from Irvine, has acquired Arkeia Software, a data protection company based in Carlsbad. The move marks a shift in Western Digital’s growth strategy as it prepares to better cater to small- and medium-sized businesses in need of off-site data storage and protection. The value of the transaction has not been disclosed.

Arkeia provides software applications and physical devices that allow its clients to securely archive data on magnetic tape, hard disk and cloud computing formats. One result of the acquisition will be Western Digital’s ability to claim Arkeia’s patented Progressive Deduplication technology, which allows companies to quickly backup large data volumes to onsite hard disks while also safely and efficiently replicating that data to the cloud. The process is particularly notable for its cost-effective and low use of bandwidth.

“Arkeia’s products expand WD's growing product portfolio for small and medium-sized businesses,” said Jim Welsh, an executive vice president for Western Digital and general manager of its branded products division. “SMB organizations are managing ever-growing volumes of critical business data, which need to be stored, shared and secured.”

The acquisition is also indicative of the growing trend in the tech industry that is blurring the line between the hardware and software sectors. As cloud-based computing becomes increasingly popular, companies that were once almost exclusively focused on hardware are finding the need to recalibrate their business models. Western Digital expects that its small storage servers will blend well with Arkeia’s software to meet the needs of small and medium-sized businesses.

“Western Digital has chosen an ideal moment to invest in this critical product category as backup-to-disk solutions accelerate their displacement of backup-to-tape,” said Bill Evans, the new senior director of worldwide software marketing at Western Digital and former CEO of Arkeia.

Financial details of the acquisition, which was finalized in December and publicly announced on Jan. 22, were not disclosed. Western Digital has asserted, however, that it will support all Arkeia customers on current maintenance and that it intends to retain Arkeia’s software and appliance product lines. For the time being, the products will continue to maintain the Akeira name.

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