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1Mby1M Incubation Radar 2010: Actifio

Posted on Wednesday, Sep 8th 2010

Actifio is a data management virtualization (DMV) software company that provides data protection, disaster recovery, and business continuity solutions to IT organizations for virtual and physical IT environments. Its products, which Actifio just launched a couple of weeks ago, are designed to make it easier for companies to copy, store, move, and restore data.

The Boston area–based company was founded by CEO Ash Ashutosh in July 2009. Ashutosh is a partner at Greylock Partners and cofounded AppIQ Inc. in 2001; he was that company’s chief technology officer and executive vice president. He was also a senior vice president of advanced technology of StorageNetworks. Actifio’s executive team includes David Chang, vice president of products and formerly founder and vice president of product management at AppIQ; Steven Blumenau, vice president of marketing and formerly vice president, digital archive sales at Iron Mountain, senior director of advanced development at EMC, and founder and CEO of Avalere; Rick Nagengast, vice president of sales and formerly vice president channel and partner development of EMC and GM of Storage Products Division of DEC and Compaq; and James Pownell, customer operations manager, formerly founder and president of Exagrid Systems; founder and vice president of engineering Highground Software and development manager at EMC.

IDC estimates storage and data virtualization to be a multibillion-dollar market. According to Actifio, “server virtualization technologies from Citrix, Microsoft, and VMWare, along with solutions from Cisco, Dell, HP, IBM, and others have enabled the transformation of the computing infrastructure into an efficient, dynamic computing resource. However, the storage infrastructure continues to be a major bottleneck in this transformation, with data lifecycle management shackled by point tools that are deployed in silos – creating complexity [and] inflexibility . . . at a significant expense.” Ashutosh says that while there are several proprietary complex point tools from major storage vendors that users have been deploying to meet their needs, he does not believe that any of these vendors has taken a step back to address the larger problem of managing the data across its life cycle. Actifio is trying to fill that gap with a unified solution that uses efficient pipelined management across the data life cycle.

Actifiio’s DMV solution, which is offered in the cloud or on-premise, does away with the traditional approach of using multiple point tools to manage individual parts of the data life cycle. Data protection, disaster recovery, and business continuity solutions often operate in separate silos. Acitifio combines them under one service-level agreement (SLA): “Actifio DP handles local and operational data recovery, Actifio DR uses offsite replication to protect primary data, and Actifio BC uses bidirectional replication across two sites,” says Disaster Recovery News. The company claims that this approach not only makes data management systems more agile and simpler to manage but can help a company to save 90% on its data management costs. The solution can coexist with a client’s other data management systems, allowing for migration when the clients deem it appropriate. It starts at $200,000, and prices vary with the amount of data being managed.

Actifio secured $8 million in series A financing from North Bridge Venture Partners and Greylock Partners in July, has just started to bring in revenue, and is not yet profitable. This investment has gotten the company to product general availability (GA) and customer and channel adoption. Actifio plans to raise more capital next year. The ideal investors are VCs with strong storage and infrastructure portfolios.

Actifio is selling 100% via the channel and will partner with key technology vendors such as VMWare and heterogeneous storage players. Further, Actifio plans to grow through original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) and managed service providers (MSPs) as well as strategic storage and server technology providers looking for upselling opportunities.

Customers include digital marketing and event firm Cramer, which says that it lowered the total cost of ownership (TCO) of its data management by over 75% and cut response time for data restores by over 90%; mobile broadband company Airvana, which cut its TCO by 70% and data protection costs by 50%; and Focus Technologies, which cut data replication costs by 80%.

There is no exit strategy as of now. Management plans to build a a strong, sustainable company through profitability and a liquidity event based on company milestones, valuation, and market conditions. Eventually, like all venture-funded companies, it will seek either an IPO or an acquisition.

Recommended Readings
EMC, VMWare, And The Cloud
Thought Leaders In Cloud Computing: Mark Settle, CIO Of BMC
Actifio Announces New Products (from Computer Technology Review)

This segment is a part in the series : 1Mby1M Incubation Radar 2010

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