With its $120 million purchase of storage provider Nexsan, Imation has bought its way further into the tiered-storage business. Nexsan and its 200 or so employees will join Imation, which began life as a provider of consumer storage products (think CD-ROM media and flash drives, plus Memorex-branded consumer products) before moving into enterprise backup products such as Infinivault backup storage appliances and Dataguard data protection appliances. The question is how Nexsan will end up integrated into Imation’s Tiered Storage and Security Solutions business, something that will presumably be determined once the deal closes this quarter. TheInfoStor, a data storage research group and part of The 451 Group, recently listed automated tiered storage as the hottest technology of 2012. Indeed, more IT managers are investing in it, drawn by its reported efficiencies; virtually all of the leading names in the storage industry, including EMC’s Symmetrix products and Hitachi’s Virtual Storage Platform, have embraced it. Imation already touts its Infiniguard tiered archive storage solutions, with Model 5, 35, and 70 devices meant for small-to-midsize businesses (SMBs). In addition, it offers a DICOM model specifically designed for medical images. “Our strategy includes focusing on the underserved SMB market with purpose-built storage systems and appliances,” Mark Lucas, Imation’s chief executive, wrote in a statement. But with Nexsan, Imation has bought its way further into managing “hot,” frequently used data. Nexsan already offers a fairly robust portfolio of NAS and SAN devices, including the E-series and BEAST line of SAN devices, with 42 to 62 disks inside a 4U chassis size, and the Nexsan NST5000 NAS array, which combines 60 drives for up to 240TB in a 4U chassis. Nexsan also comes with the FASTier technology used within the NST5000, which aims to provide solid-state disk (SSD) speeds at the price of a traditional spinning disk. The hybrid storage system combines a small amount of “hot” data within an SSD and the “cold” data found within a traditional disk-based storage array: FASTier acceleration technology in the NST5000 storage system utilizes up to 192GB of DRAM and up to 2.8TB of 100GB or 200GB flash-based SLC SSDs. From a business perspective, NexSAN also counts 11,000 existing customers, which Imation’s sales force can undoubtedly tap for future sales. While Imation doesn’t have nearly the clout as some of its larger rivals, its latest acquisition will help raise its profile.   Image: oksix/