Arik Hesseldahl

Recent Posts by Arik Hesseldahl

IBM to Acquire StoredIQ, a Manager of Corporate Data

eyebeeem-featureIBM said today that it will acquire StoredIQ, an 11-year-old Austin-based company focused on managing big caches of corporate data.

A classic problem in Big Data circles is the reflexive urge to move data before you manage it and do anything useful with it. StoredIQ’s approach calls for managing data in the place it is originally stored. It works with a lot of different kinds of data sources — desktop machines, file shares, even old tapes. The point is to analyze them all, find the important bits, and delete the bits that aren’t important.

IBM will add StoredIQ to its Information LifeCycle Governance Suite, which aims to help companies spend less on the data they accumulate over the years. Data has a bad way of multiplying. If you’ve ever seen an email chain with attachments get sent to lots of people — then re-sent, forwarded and so on — you can pretty easily understand how unnecessary copies of the same data make storing it all so difficult. And if it’s happening on your email servers, it’s happening with other kinds of data, as well. Copies get made, then copies of copies. In time, it becomes unrealistic to sort through it all and just clean it up.

There is value in that older data as it ages. There are business patterns that repeat themselves that aren’t apparent years later: Pricing data, seasonal patterns and other information that’s worth keeping on for years and years. That’s where IBM’s analytics chops come into play. The key is figuring out which bits are important and which aren’t.

It’s not a trivial problem. Some companies are required by law — there have been a lot of new regulations around data retention in recent years — to store everything in case of a lawsuit or an enforcement action by a regulatory agency. As data multiplies, so does the cost to store and manage it, creating a headache for both the CIO and general counsel.

The deal builds on prior IBM acquisitions, like PSS Systems in 2010 and Vivisimo earlier this year.


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I think the NSA has a job to do and we need the NSA. But as (physicist) Robert Oppenheimer said, “When you see something that is technically sweet, you go ahead and do it and argue about what to do about it only after you’ve had your technical success. That is the way it was with the atomic bomb.”

— Phil Zimmerman, PGP inventor and Silent Circle co-founder, in an interview with Om Malik