We object: Quantum snaps up Western Digital’s ActiveScale business

What a week for Quantum. It made its first quarterly profit in more than four years. It qualified to get listed on Nasdaq and now it is buying Western Digital’s unwanted ActiveScale archiving business.

Jamie Lerner, Quantum president and CEO, said of the acquisition: “Object storage software is an obvious fit with our strategy… and within our technology portfolio.”

He also said: “As Quantum returns to a growth path, we will be evaluating strategic acquisitions that bolster our technology portfolio.”

ActiveScale history lesson

ActiveScale was put on the For Sale block in September 2019 when WD sold its IntelliFlash business to DDN and said it was getting out of the data centre systems business.

WD acquired fellow disk drive manufacturer HGST in 2012. HGST then bought object storage supplier Amplidata in 2015 and started selling its ActiveArchive product. This evolved into ActiveScale in late 2016.

It was the second of two product pillars in WD’s Data Centre systems business.

For its part Quantum introduced its Lattus object storage products in 2015, and they were based on Amplidata technology. It also introduced Arkivio archiving software in 2015 and that could send files to Lattus as an archive store target.

Quantum, through Lattus, has sold and supported the ActiveScale product line for over five years. Now it has acquired the source technology behind Lattus.

WD’s Phil Bullinger, the SVP and GM of its now smaller Data Center business, said: “With Quantum’s resources, technical expertise and focus on solving customers’ challenges with managing video and other unstructured data, we believe ActiveScale will enable new value for customers.”

We might imagine he gave a sigh of relief at the conclusion of this sale and completion of WD’s data centre systems’ business exit. Time to move on. 

Lerner said: “With the addition of the engineers and scientists that developed the [ActiveScale] erasure-coded object store software, we can deliver on a robust technical roadmap, including new solutions like an object store built on a combination of disk and tape.”

Quantum will provide post-closing continued support for ActiveScale products and a strong commitment to invest in – and enhance – the ActiveScale product line. That should reassure ActiveScale customers.

The transaction is expected to close by March 31, 2020, subject to customary closing conditions. Financial terms were not disclosed.

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