Ash Ashutosh, an entrepreneur with decades of experience in data storage, was working for a Boston-area venture-capital firm when he began plotting another assault on the market. New software was allowing companies to cut their spending on servers and networking gear, he recalls, but they were nervous about making changes when it comes to keeping sensitive information.
Actifio Inc., the startup Ashutosh and a longtime partner founded, is trying to reduce that resistance with software that manages how data is stored while letting users get by with a smaller number of storage boxes.
The key innovation behind Actifio, he says, is technology that reduces inadvertent duplication of files around organizations that helps drive the need for many storage systems. Its software, based on a concept called copy data virtualization, creates the equivalent of one “golden” copy of a file and then stores only small changes rather than reproducing the entire document, the company says.
Actifio’s software–which Ashutosh compares to the Apple tool called Time Machine–also helps companies coordinate the process of moving data back and forth from their own computers to those operated by external cloud services, he says.
Ashutosh describes entrenched storage hardware specialists like EMC as partners rather than rivals. Such companies do, however, sell data management programs that may overlap with Actifio’s. And companies don’t typically warm to avowed partners whose stated goal is reducing the need for their products.
Others with rival data management software include CommVault, a former unit of AT&T Inc. that was spun off in 1996 as a separate company. But competition hasn’t slowed Actifio, to hear Ashutosh tell it. Some 600 businesses in 36 countries use its technology, he says.