EMC considers Mozy web-based storage service buy

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EMC considers Mozy web-based storage service buy

Storage giant EMC is expected to acquire startup firm Berkeley Data Systems in a deal that suggests online and outsourced storage could become a bigger factor for businesses.

EMC will pay about US$76 million for Berkeley’s Mozy web-based storage service, according to several reports, although EMC has not so far confirmed the deal.

Mozy lets consumers and businesses back up data to its remote site rather than on local storage devices or corporate servers. Some supporters believe that the model could represent the way forward in storage by relieving firms of the need to hire administrators or invest in tapes, disks and other paraphernalia.

Mozy is one of several startups that offer web-based storage capacity with others including Carbonite, SoonR, OmniDrive and Xdrive.

Large firms are slowly entering the sector too. Amazon launched its Simple Storage Service (S3) in March last year and has since added compute and payments services. Amazon charges 15 cents per gigabyte per month for the service.

Microsoft recently posted a beta version of its Windows Live SkyDrive while Google is widely expected to launch a storage service dubbed GDrive this year. Also, helping to validate the sector, Seagate early this year acquired EVault for about US$185 million.

However, sceptics point to the failure of many storage service providers and say any shift to store enterprise data online will be slow.

"This is more about EMC getting into the consumer and small-business online storage space, with a high-profile provider," said Doug Chandler, IDC research director. "But it's part of the broader software-as-a-service phenomenon, so online storage is part of a significant trend that will certainly include ente rprise firms. From the customer side, you want a trusted provider, an exit plan, and good customer support."

Chandler added that he expects more action if the EMC-Mozy deal is confirmed with buyers likely to come from a diverse range of groups including hosting companies, telcos, storage hardware makers, resellers and communications firms.
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