HITS Connections

IBM to Acquire Aspera

By Chris Tribbey

Big Blue is synonymous with Big Data.

Emptoris, DemandTec, Varicent, Vivisimo, Star Analytics, StoredIQ. All are big data acquisitions IBM has made in just the last two years. In the last five years, the company has made more than 30 such acquisitions, investing mote than $16 billion.

The latest is Emeryville, Calif.-based Aspera, which counts some of the media and entertainment industry’s largest firms among its clients. IBM announced Dec. 19 it would acquire the Emmy-winning company during the first quarter of 2014.

“The amount of data that’s being created today, every day, is phenomenal,” said Jeanette Barlow, program director of IBM’s smarter commerce product management. “The insight we’re going to help organizations get from [the acquisition] can really transform their businesses, their value chains, and the ways they can be responsive to customers and clients.

“Big data is, well, big, and you have to be able to get it from point A to point B, or points B, C and D, in an efficient way, and this is where Aspera compliments the investments we’ve already made, by providing the fastest, secure, highly predictable ways to transfer that data across the network and up to the cloud.”

Aspera — which counts Netflix, Universal, Civolution, Deluxe and DirecTV among its many clients — touts that its patented large file transfer technology bumps up the secure transfer of large files and collections of files by nearly 100%. A 26-hour transmission of a 24 GB file can be sent halfway around the world in less than a minute.

“Our team has redefined how the world’s biggest data can be moved quickly, securely and reliably around the world,” said Michelle Munson, president and co-founder of Aspera. “By tapping into IBM’s innovative capabilities and global resources, we will solve ever expanding data movement challenges for our customers now and in the future.”

Aspera’s technology has proven especially fruitful for media companies, who can shorten production cycles and upload content to streaming services faster, and gaming companies, which have utilized it to get their hands on third-party software to enable faster game development.

“It feels more real-time than it ever has before, and if you look at their customer list, there are many in the media and entertainment space, organizations like Netflix and studios, that take advantage of this, where the transfer doesn’t degrade the user experience,” Barlow said.

She added that the acquisition builds on IBM’s “Smarter Commerce” and “Managed File Transfer” initiatives, allowing businesses to accelerate their digital supply chains.

“There are challenges in moving large data sets from one part of the world to another,” she said. “This is a distance neutral transfer solution, that [allows clients to] take advantage of a global value chain, without the traditional bottlenecks, and let’s organizations seriously look at cloud computing for data-intensive workloads, ingesting that data up to the cloud, and using Aspera, do that far more efficiently.”

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