StorageCraft buys Exablox for creative synergies around DR and business continuity

The acquisition follows a successful distribution agreement last October through which Exablox resold StorageCraft ShadowProtect software.

Marvin Blough, StorageCraft’s vice president of worldwide sales

StorageCraft Technology Corporation has announced the acquisition of fellow storage vendor Exablox. The acquisition follows a successful distribution agreement between the two companies that began last October, through which Exablox resold StorageCraft’s ShadowProtect backup and recovery software. It also foreshadows what StorageCraft says will be significant synergies that will be reflected in their product line later this year.

“We are very excited about this acquisition, which continues our strategy of building out the company over the last twelve months,” said Marvin Blough, StorageCraft’s vice president of worldwide sales. “This began with the initial investment from TA Associates, Matt [Medeiros] coming on board as CEO, myself, and our new CFO Matthew Crumley. It includes the addition of our cloud services backup products and the acquisition in s September 2016 purchase of Gillware Data Services, which added both file backup and data analytics technology. In December, we released our cloud backup product. We have significantly expanded our go-to-market and now with this acquisition, we acquire Exablox’s OneBlox hardware platform, which is a really sophisticated scale-out platform for both primary and secondary storage.”

Blough said the impetus to the two companies’ coming together began with last fall’s reselling agreement.

“StorageCraft’s traditional market is very much SMB and a lot of the partners have an SMB business model, but more and more are providing a disaster recovery [DR] solution for their customers,” he stated. “Exablox has been more midmarket. Part of the distribution agreement we did with them was testing the waters, seeing if this combination is compelling to people. We were pleasantly surprised with the opportunities we saw there, which led us to go forward with the acquisition.”

Blough said the reselling agreement validated the belief that strong synergies will flow from the deal.

“Our StorageCraft software technology, combined with Exablox’s hardware technology, lets us do some really creative things around disaster recovery and business continuity,” he said. “You see lots of innovation happening around storage, but not as much about backing things up in the DR strategy. It doesn’t have to be done that way any more. A lot of what you store is junk – so why back up junk. Not every piece of data needs to have the same DR strategy. For example, things that are less important can be restored in a longer timeframe, in days or even weeks rather than minutes. There are economics that go along with that. Combining with Exablox lets us design intelligent business continuity systems, where we can assign these priorities. Exablox’s hardware platform lets us offer that not just to customers, but to our MSP community. It will allow them to become much more intelligent in backup and restoring their customers’ data.”

Exablox will not be established as an independent subsidiary, but Blough said that in the immediate future, it will remain largely separate in terms of corporate organization. Exablox CEO Douglas Brockett will remain with the company as president and report directly to Matt Medeiros.

“For now, we will keep the brand, the salesforce, the channel – there is not a rush for integration,” he said. “We are looking for synergies, but there is no rush to integrate them into the StorageCraft organization. About 50 per cent of the Exablox installations have been backup, so they still could be a competitor to StorageCraft in some cases.”

Integration of the two product lines will, however, begin right away.

“In the short term, we will be announcing a bundle of our ShadowProtect products with Exablox,” Blough said. “Longer term – and that means starting just 90 days down the road – there will be technology integrations happening.”

The two channels are quite different, but again, there is no rush to integrate them quickly. Although some of the Exablox partners are the type of partners StorageCraft has been looking for.

“Part of our goal last year was to expand the channel and bring on board more of the larger partners that service larger customers,” Blough stated. “We expanded our sales force to assist partners, and increased our sales and engineers in the field that work with partners by 50 per cent. We built out our training and certification program, and built our partner portal, to provide a single point of contact with StorageCraft. We also started engaging more with mid-market focused partners, With the addition of Exablox, it gives us a product offering which is more compelling to midmarket customers and solution providers both.”

The StorageCraft channel, because of the weight at the lower end, is much larger than the Exablox one.

“We have 3000-4000 partners transacting in any given quarter, while Exablox has around 200,” Blough said. “Most of our StorageCraft partners will not be interested in Exablox. I do expect though, that there will be a subset of our channel that their product makes sense to. So we will launch a road show beginning the middle of February in 20 cities, which includes training and hands on work with Exablox products. We also have training and certification programs and will develop Exablox for that. Our systems engineers in the field will have part of their role to expand Exablox knowledge. There will also be a dramatic expansion of the Exablox sales force, as we will train about 100 of our StorageCraft people on their product.”

Next Wednesday, StorageCraft will host a webinar on the new Exablox product.