BMC buys virtual tape library biz Model9

BMC has bought Model9, the Israeli mainframe VTL and data export startup, for an undisclosed price.

Houston-based BMC started out in 1980 as a mainframe software company and developed into a mainframe and hybrid cloud software and services supplier. It was bought by a private investor group for $6.9 billion in 2013, and then sold to KKR in 2018 for $8.3 billion including debt.

In the intervening years, BMC has itself acquired RSM Partners, Compuware, Alderstone, ComAround and StreamWeaver. The purchase prices were not revealed. 

John McKenny

John McKenny, SVP and GM of Intelligent Z Optimization and Transformation at BMC, said in a statement: “Together BMC and Model9 support innovation by reimagining mainframe data management. With mainframe cloud data management, organizations get all of the benefits of the cloud including flexibility, scalability, and price, while delivering the advantages of on-premises mainframe computing for large-scale, business-critical applications. Together, we will extend cloud benefits to our mainframe customers as they accelerate their journey to become an Autonomous Digital Enterprise.”

BMC says storing data on mainframes is expensive, limiting and reckons better data management, including moving appropriate parts of the data to public cloud object storage, can help eliminate expensive secondary storage hardware and associated software license costs. 

To date, the public funding total for Model9 has reached $13.5 million.

Model9, started up in 2016, moves mainframe data to other systems, initially replacing mainframe tape storage with disk-based Virtual Tape Libraries, and then sending it with the S3 protocol to AWS and S3-supporting on-premises object storage systems. The software includes APIs for sharing the data with analytics services and other apps. The customer list includes global financial institutions, government agencies and retail companies, we’re told.

Model9 support for AWS and snowflake

A deal was announced between Model9 with AWS in December 2022 to help replatform and convert mainframe applications so they can run on AWS. It also included Model9’s Cloud Data Platform for Mainframe being used a RESTful API-accessible repository for applications and AWS services that need to use mainframe data. Model9 has three product lines: Manager to move and store backup/archive data in the cloud; Shield to cyber-protect copies of mainframe data; and Gravity to move mainframe data to the cloud and there transform it and load it into cloud data warehouses and AI/ML pipelines. 

In January Model9 announced a partnership with Hitachi Vantara to feed mainframe data to its HCP object store – the S3 support mattered here – and VSP 5000 storage systems and make it available to apps running in the hybrid cloud.

We understand that BMC saw this Model9-AWS relationship and recognized a good fit with its own mainframe-cloud activities.

BMC said the acquisition will provide customers with the capability to store and share mainframe data across the hybrid IT landscape, including public and private clouds. The sales pitch is that customers can manage and operate secondary storage in a consistent way and migrate mainframe data to the cloud reliably, efficiently, and securely

Gil Peleg

Gil Peleg, Model9 founder and CEO, said: “The combination of Model9’s Cloud Data Management for Mainframe solutions with the BMC AMI product portfolio will enable customers to modernize more quickly and safely while fully leveraging their investment in existing trusted infrastructure.” 

BMC’s AMI is its Automated Mainframe Intelligence portfolio of products. The deal, BMC’s sixth acquisition in three years, is expected to close in the first half of 2023, subject to customary closing conditions.