This morning IBM announced the intent to acquire Chicago based object storage vendor Cleversave.

So let's dissect the press release in our custom style, it can be found here:

ARMONK, N.Y., Oct. 5, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- IBM (NYSE: IBM) today announced it has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Cleversafe, Inc., a leading developer and manufacturer of object-based storage software and appliances. The acquisition will strengthen IBM's leadership positions in storage and hybrid cloud and support clients' drive to next generation mobile, social and analytics applications. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.
MyPOV – Good summary of the deal and how it fits in the general – more hybrid as of this year – direction of IBM's cloud business.

Once the deal closes, IBM will integrate the Cleversafe portfolio into its IBM Cloud business unit to give clients strategic data flexibility, simplified management, and consistency with on-premise, cloud, and hybrid cloud deployment options. 
MyPOV – Good to see where the 'new' kid will find a home, it could have gone to the Storage unit, too – but given the focus on cloud and cloud growth no surprise that Cleversafe will find its way to the Cloud business unit.

As companies race to digitally transform their businesses they are faced with several unique challenges, including the rapid growth of unstructured data (images, audio, and video) and finding the proper balance between on-premise and cloud storage deployments. The emergence of new storage technologies, such as object storage delivered through Cleversafe, allows companies to store and manage massive amounts of data more efficiently while meeting the demands of data-intensive workloads delivered via the cloud. […]
MyPOV – Good summary why cloud storage is key for modern application scenarios and use cases. Cleversafe brings key capabilities to IBM, which already has an object store as part of the SoftLayer acquisition, but it seems like IBM has been investing in other areas of the SoftLayer stack
"Today a massive digital transformation is underway as organizations increasingly turn to cloud computing for innovative ways to manage more complex business operations and increasing volumes of data in a secure and effective way," said Robert LeBlanc, Senior Vice President, IBM Cloud. "Cleversafe, a pioneer in object storage, will add to our efforts to help clients overcome these challenges by extending and strengthening our cloud storage strategy, as well as our portfolio."
MyPOV – Good quote by LeBlanc making clear why IBM bought Cleversafe… also – and not mentioned: By providing object storage for more than a decade, the Cleversafe products are not only mature and proven, but also adopted by a large number of customers. And with customers comes load, and load is something that IBM Cloud needs in order to scale and compete in the market.

Founded in 2004, Cleversafe is a privately held company based in Chicago and a recognized market leader[1] with more than 350 patents in object-based, on-premise storage solutions that enable clients to scale to exabytes of storage, or billions of gigabytes. Clients across multiple industries use Cleversafe for large-scale content repository, backup, archive, collaboration and storage as a service.

MyPOV – Always good to acquire IP and a wide range of solution portfolio. Cleversafe was smart (or founded too early?) to stay out of providing the storage themselves, but partnering with different cloud and hardware providers (the latter for on premises deployments).  

"IBM is an innovator and leader in cloud and storage and we're excited about the opportunities that lay ahead once this transaction closes," said John Morris, President and CEO of Cleversafe. "Together with IBM we can extend our object storage leadership position to address the broadest set of workloads for clients with the most expansive set of object-based solutions."
MyPOV – Good quote by Morris – let's hope it will all happen as he describes.

Cleversafe's Dispersed Storage Network (dsNet®) solutions enhance on-premise storage options for clients and service providers with low-cost, large scale active archives and unstructured data content stores. The solutions complement IBM's software defined Spectrum Storage portfolio for data protection and backup, tape archive, as well as a high performance file and object solution where the focus is on response time
MyPOV – Kudos to IBM to address how Cleversafe fits in with the Spectrum products, when I asked for plans in the Q&A call – it was of course too early to address, understandable, but a key area to watch. We expect IBM to keep supporting existing offerings and products, and the next generation of Spectrum Storage to leverage Cleversafe assets like the intelligent slicing of content and more.

The dsNet solutions and technologies will be integrated into the IBM Cloud to enhance IBM's Infrastructure as a Service, SoftLayer and the SoftLayer Object Storage services platform, providing clients a hybrid cloud deployment model that offers greater choice of geography, performance, cost optimization and flexibility.Following close of the deal, clients will be able to use SoftLayer cloud services and IBM Bluemix, IBM's Platform-as-a-Service, to create dynamic and innovative applications with the Cleversafe technology as a foundational content repository and data archive.
MyPOV – And good to see that IBM also addresses the overlap with SoftLayer object storage. It will be interesting to see how much of Cleversafe will be moved to Softlayer and how much appetite IBM will have to support the heterogenous platform support that Cleversafe has today (e.g. AWS).

The planned acquisition underscores IBM's continued commitment to data storage innovation including investments across Flash, Software Defined Storage and Cloud Storage environments over the last five years alone. IBM continues to offer one of the most comprehensive storage portfolios in the industry, created through both acquisitions and innovations from IBM Research and Development.
MyPOV – A good reminder, but obvoiusy this portfolio needed some IP and business injection from the outside, nothing wrong with that, more a continued IBM strategy.

Overall MyPOV

A good move by IBM, which needed to upgrade it object storage capabilities. Very large and large files play a key role as load for cloud environments (just take the data point of Netflix network traffic as part North American cloud traffic). The older SoftLayer object store could not compete with that and could not deliver the customers that Cleversoft has acquired over the last 10+ years.

On the concern side, it is another acquisition and IBM needs to integrate Cleversave not only on the cloud side – but also for its Spectrum Storage portfolio. That will take some time, and it will be key for IBM to keep customers, talent and business together. On the flipside IBM has plenty of acquisition experience, its very cloud business operating on the base of a key acquisition, SoftLayer.

So congrats to IBM, that made a good acquisition both from an IP and customer load perspective. Storage is sticky, and can't be switched easily for existing applications. That will be both a blessing and a course for IBM going forward. We will be watching.
More on IBM :
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  • News Analysis - IBM had a very good year in the cloud - 2015 will be key - read here
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  • Why IBM acquired Softlayer - read here
Find more coverage on the Constellation Research website here and checkout my magazine on Flipboard and my YouTube channel here