Wednesday, June 16, 2021

Seagate Lifts 4FQ21 Revenue Guidance From $2.85 to $2.95 Billion Plus or Minus $150 Million

 

On urging enterprise drive and crypto farming demand

Seagate Technology Holdings plc increased its revenue and earnings guidance for its fiscal fourth quarter ending July 2, 2021.

Strong, broad-based demand for our products into the mass capacity markets and distribution channel is driving upside to our fourth quarter outlook,” said Dave Mosley, CEO. “We are excited by the positive momentum we are seeing globally and leveraging the agility of our manufacturing operations to address the rapidly changing demand environment.”

 

Wednesday, May 05, 2021

Qualstar Qi Desktop LTO Mac Tape Drive Bundle With Atto ThunderLink SH 3128 Thunderbolt to SAS Adapter

Thunderbolt 3 to 12Gb SAS/SATA adapters connect Thunderbolt desktop and mobile workstations to SAS/SATA storage devices with up to 2,750MB/s of SAS throughput.

Atto Technology, Inc. announces  portable LTO tape solution for macOS devices through their partnership with Qualstar Corporation.

The Qi Desktop LTO Mac solution extends the benefits of the firm’s single-drive, magnetic tape Qi system to users of macOS devices by including a ThunderLink SH 3128 Thunderbolt to SAS adapter in a single bundle.

The Qi Desktop LTO SAS is a compact and portable high-capacity tape storage device that can be equipped with an LTO-6, LTO-7, or LTO-8 tape drive and can store up to 12TB of data natively (30TB compressed) on a single tape cartridge. The Qi Desktop LTO Mac solution is for media, film and content production where the work location could change daily.

An Atto ThunderLink and Qi Desktop LTO Mac is a great combination and makes for a very useful and flexible package,” says Timothy J. Klein, president and CEO, Atto. “The portability is amazing; users can access or save huge files where ever their work takes them – in the field or just around the office.

The company’s ThunderLink SH 3128 40Gb/s Thunderbolt 3 to 12Gb SAS/SATA adapters connect Thunderbolt desktop and mobile workstations to SAS/SATA storage devices with up to 2,750MB/s of SAS throughput. They feature the firm’s Advanced Data Streaming (ADS) technology to reduce latency, ensuring a smooth flow of data onto the tape and minimizing the need for redundant passes, increasing the lifespan of the cartridge.

We are thrilled to be able to offer the exceptional storage capabilities and portability of the Qi to our macOS customers through our partnership with Atto,” says Steven N. Bronson, chairman, president and CEO, Qualstar. “Once chiefly the domain of enterprise storage solutions, LTO tape’s ongoing R/W speed increases have made it a storage solution that can benefit individuals and smaller teams as well.

The partnership between the two companies has been active this year with Qualstar announcing  in January the ExpressSAS 12Gb H1280 GT SAS/SATA HBA is available from the company as an exclusive accessory.

The Qi Desk LTO Mac solution is available from BackupWorks.com

 

Thursday, April 15, 2021

Dell to Spin-Off 81% Equity Ownership of VMware

 VMware to pay $11.5-$12.0 billion special cash dividend to all stockholders

The VMware, Inc.‘s Special Committee of independent directors and Dell Technologies have agreed to terms in which VMware will be spun-off from Dell.

The terms include significant simplification to the corporate ownership structure and an $11.5 billion to $12.0 billion special cash dividend recommended by the independent Special Committee and declared by the VMware board to all its stockholders immediately prior to the spin-off and subject to the satisfaction of all closing conditions. Dell Technologies stockholders will receive a pro-rata distribution of VMware shares held by Dell, and Michael Dell and Silver Lake Partners will own direct interests in VMware. The two companies have also finalized a commercial agreement that preserves and enhances their strategic partnership to deliver joint customer value.

VMware’s vision is to create an ubiquitous software and SaaS platform across all clouds and hardware infrastructure that helps accelerate customers’ digital transformation. A spin-off from Dell provides VMware increased freedom to execute its strategy, a simplified capital structure and governance model and additional strategic, operational and financial flexibility, while maintaining the strength of the 2 companies’ strategic partnership.

We will have an enhanced ability to extend our ecosystem across all cloud vendors and on-premises infrastructure vendors and a capital structure that will support growth opportunities,” said Zane Rowe, CFO and interim CEO, VMware. “Our strategic partnership with Dell Technologies remains a differentiator for us, and, as we execute on our multi-cloud strategy, we continue to provide customers our solutions and services on any public cloud and any infrastructure.”

In connection with Dell’ Schedule 13D amendment filed on July 15, 2020, the VMware board formed a Special Committee of independent directors that retained legal and financial advisors to review and evaluate any potential proposal from Dell concerning business opportunities outlined in the Dell filing. The Special Committee evaluated and recommended approval of the transaction and special cash dividend by VMware’s board of directors.

The VMware Special Committee is confident that the spin-off agreement will benefit all stockholders by establishing a simplified capital structure, positioning VMware well to execute on its strategy,” said Paul Sagan, lead independent VMware board member, special committee member and chair of the Compensation and Corporate Governance Committee.

By spinning off VMware, we expect to drive additional growth opportunities for Dell Technologies as well as VMware, and unlock significant value for stakeholders,” said Michael Dell, COB, VMware. “Both companies will remain important partners, with a differentiated advantage in how we bring solutions to customers.”

Through its commercial agreement, the 2 companies will continue to collaborate and co-engineer solutions that provide strategic value to customers, with Dell providing go-to-market scale for VMware’s product portfolio.

The spin-off will provide VMware increased strategic, operational and financial flexibility and agility to drive its growth strategy. This includes simplifying capital allocation decisions and eliminating the current dual class stock structure. In addition, VMware remains committed to an investment grade rating and profile.
The estimated value of the $11.5 billion to $12.0 billion special cash dividend that VMware will provide to all stockholders ranges from $27.43 per share to $28.62 per share, based on outstanding shares as of March 16, 2021.

Thursday, April 01, 2021

Synnex and Tech Data Merging in Transaction Valued at $7.2 Billion

 

Two huge WW IT distributors with $57 billion in total annual revenue

SYNNEX Corporation and Tech Data Corp.  entered into a definitive merger agreement under which the 2 companies will combine in a transaction valued at approximately $7.2 billion, including net debt.

The combined company, with approximately $57 billion in estimated pro forma annual revenues and a team of over 22,000 associates and colleagues, will provide customers and vendors with expansive reach across products, services, and geographies to accelerate technology adoption.

We are excited to partner with a world-class industry leader like Tech Data and believe that this combination will benefit all our stakeholders,” said Dennis Polk, SYNNEX president and CEO. “This transaction allows for accelerated revenue and earnings growth, an expanded global footprint, and the ability to drive significant operating improvements while continuing to create shareholder value. We look forward to working with the talented colleagues at Tech Data and expect our combined business will create the opportunity for team members to produce the highest levels of service to our partners.”

This is transformational for Tech Data, SYNNEX and the entire technology ecosystem. Together, we will be able to offer our customers and vendors exceptional reach, efficiency, and expertise, redefining the experience and value they receive,” said Rich Hume, Tech Data CEO. “The combined company will also benefit from significant financial strength to invest in its core growth platform as well as next gen cybersecurity, cloud, data, and IoT technologies, which are experiencing explosive growth due to work from home and return to office trends. We could not have reached this milestone without the hard work of our colleagues, and we look forward to working together with the SYNNEX team to seamlessly bring our companies together and to create meaningful value for all our stakeholders.”

Tech Data currently is wholly-owned by funds managed by affiliates of Apollo Global Management, Inc. and their co-investors.

Apollo senior partner and co-head of private equity Matt Nord and Apollo partner Robert Kalsow-Ramos said: “When we acquired Tech Data, we saw the tremendous potential for transformative growth and long-term value creation. This transaction will accelerate the momentum that was already underway by uniting two outstanding companies for greater scale and financial strength to lead the industry. We are excited to remain a part of the new company’s continued success.”

Compelling Strategic Benefits

  • Creates a diversified global solutions aggregator with breadth and depth of capabilities. The combined company will have a global footprint that serves more than 100 countries across the Americas, Europe and AsiaPac regions, and a portfolio of more than 200,000 product and solutions offerings. This meaningful scale will provide increased value and purchasing efficiencies to the combined company’s 150,000 customers and more than 1,500 vendors and enable it to accelerate technology adoption and attract most innovative OEMs.
  • Capitalizes on premier core growth platforms and establishes product offerings in next gen, high-growth areas. The transaction combines each company’s core growth platforms to establish a differentiated end-to-end solutions portfolio and product offerings in some of the largest, highest growth product segments including cloud, data centers, security, IoT, services, 5G, and intelligent edge. The companies’ complementary product line cards and global distribution platform provide diversified revenue streams and cross selling opportunities, including the ability to bring a comprehensive everything-as-a-service (EaaS) offerings to the market.
  • Brings together companies with complementary cultures and a commitment to being an employer of choice in the global IT industry. Both firms have corporate cultures centered on innovation, agility, and customer service. These shared principles, as well as the expertise and talent from both organizations, will support a smooth integration following the close of the transaction.

Transaction Details

  • Under the terms of the agreement, Apollo Funds will receive an aggregate of 44 million shares of SYNNEX common stock plus the refinancing of existing Tech Data net debt and redeemable preferred shares of approximately $2.7 billion.
  • Upon closing of the transaction, SYNNEX shareholders will own approximately 55% of the combined entity, with Apollo Funds owning approximately 45%.
  • Rich Hume will lead the combined company as CEO. Dennis Polk will be executive chair of the board of directors and will take an active role in the ongoing strategy and integration of the business, among other responsibilities.
  • The combined company will have an 11-member board, including Hume, with six individuals appointed by SYNNEX and with Apollo Funds to have board designation rights based on ownership, initially including four total directors, 2 of whom will be independent.
  • Non-GAAP diluted EPS accretion of more than 25% is expected in year one post close, with further accretion expected in year two.
  • Net optimization and synergy benefits of $100 million are expected in the first year after closing, achieving a minimum of $200 million by the end of the second year.
  • The combined company will benefit from a strong financial foundation and an investment grade profile. Based on Lpro-forma adjusted EBITDA of approximately $1.5 billion and expected combined debt of approximately $4.0 billion at close, debt-to-adjusted EBITDA is expected to be approximately 2.7x at transaction close and is expected to decline to approximately 2x within 12 months.
  • The transaction is expected to close in 2H21, subject to the satisfaction of customary closing conditions, including approval by SYNNEX stockholders and regulatory approvals.
  • MiTAC Holdings Corporation and its affiliates, which collectively owned approximately 17% of SYNNEX shares as of January 22, 2021, have agreed to vote their shares in favor of the transaction. Until the transaction is completed, the companies will continue to operate independently

 

Tuesday, February 16, 2021

Navigating cybersecurity in an uncertain world

Far from being defeated, ransomware and other cyberattacks are going from strength to strength. Threat actors are now pooling their criminal knowledge to create powerful cartels, on a mission to find new and ever more insidious ways to disrupt businesses and make huge profits as victims scramble to recover. To have any chance of winning the battle, IT professionals need to shift their focus because the pandemic has to some extent rewritten the rules.

So if it is inevitable that you will be the victim of cybercrime, in addition to taking preventative steps like deploying anti-virus security software and other counter measures, the best way to protect your data is to place a copy somewhere where you can be certain thieves won’t be able to reach it.

Today, the most secure and inaccessible form of storage, which is readily available to every business at a reasonable price point and capable of scaling from terabytes to even exabytes, is LTO Ultrium tape.

For streaming large, contiguous volumes when the tapes are accessible, LTO-8 technology is more or less equivalent in streaming performance to consumer grade flash and certainly much faster than the SATA HDDs most commonly used for private cloud object storage solutions).

 But in the new world in which we now live, these relatively manageable inconveniences pale into comparison when set aside what tape delivers to companies who suffer a ransomware attack and are locked outside all of their data. The best and most compelling recent example of this is what happened to Spectra Logic.

 Because ransomware is now so widespread, it’s very likely there are more companies benefiting from tape assistance than the news would have us be aware of. That certainly seems to be one of the takeaways from the ESG Tape Landscape report for 2020 available from the LTO Program. Amongst survey respondents, the most common mechanism used to recover from cyber attack is tape backup. And of those using isolated storage protection, 61% were using tape to put in place the crucial air gap that is almost impossible for online cyberattack to penetrate.

In my mind there is no doubt that in spite of being a very familiar and traditional storage platform, tape support for backup and archiving should remain a key part of the circular fort of layered defences against the threat of cyberattack and ransomware.


 

Tuesday, February 09, 2021

Qualstar Makes Tape Storage Interfacing With Atto ExpressSAS 12Gb H1280 GT PCIe 4 SAS HBA

Qualstar Corporation makes it easier to manage a tape-based storage solution with the addition of Atto Technology, Inc.’s ExpressSAS 12Gb H1280 GT SAS/SATA HBAs to its catalog.

This HBA is one of only two on the market that utilizes the x8 PCI Express 4.0 host interface, offering the fastest available direct connection to SAS storage devices.

The ExpressSAS H1280 GT 12Gb PCIe 4 SAS HBA provides 12Gb/s transfer speeds for SAS. It has 8 external ports, which can be configured for redundancy, and can support as many as 2,048 end devices. Built-in latency-reducing technology ensures a consistent stream of data to the storage device. This, in turn, speeds up write times and reduces tape wear because it will not need to make multiple passes due to data flow interruptions. Additionally, all 12Gb/s HBA adapters include Atto PowerCenter Pro, an integrated software RAID solution that brings the performance and protection of RAID to attached storage devices.

Qualstar is dedicated to continually expanding its range of products to address all of our customers’ potential needs,” says Arun Vaishampayan, VP, global sales, Qualstar. “Atto ExpressSAS HBAs provide the superior functionality that our customers have come to expect, and we are excited to be able to offer it directly to them through this partnership.”

Specifications aside, ExpressSAS H1280 GT is notable for its effortless, user-first design. It is compatible with Windows, macOS, and Linux and with intuitive but software tools provided by Atto. A low-profile design provides better airflow over the device and also makes installation easier. And if anything goes wrong, a bevy of diagnostic and monitoring tools can pinpoint the failure – even down to individual cables.

ExpressSAS 12Gb/s HBAs are a great interfacing solution for customers managing tape-based data storage solutions,” says Tom Kolniak, senior director, marketing, product management, and alliances, Atto. “Given our 30-year proven track record and Qualstar’s commitment to excellence, this partnership is a natural fit.

 

Wednesday, December 16, 2020

Quantum Acquires Square Box Systems

Quantum Corp. acquired Square Box Systems Ltd, in data cataloging, user collaboration, and digital asset management software.

The acquisition builds on Quantum’s recently expanded portfolio that classifies, manages, and protects data across its lifecycle by adding technology advancements to further enrich video, digital images and other forms of unstructured data. This acquisition will strengthen its ability to provide software solutions to help companies unlock the business value contained in their data, both on-premises and in the cloud.

Square Box Systems’ flagship product is CatDV, an agile media management and workflow automation software platform that helps organizations with large volumes of media and metadata to organize, communicate and collaborate more effectively. IT leverages AI and ML technology to make it easier for businesses of any size to catalog and analyze digital assets such as video, images, audio files, PDFs, and more; enable search across local and cloud repositories; and provide access control across the full data lifecycle for secure sharing and data governance.

There is huge untapped value contained in video, digital images, and other valuable file data,” says Jamie Lerner, president and CEO, Quantum. “This acquisition will not only help our customers make better business decisions based on their data, but it represents another key step in Quantum’s transformation by adding data enrichment technology to our portfolio. We are also adding a growing, profitable software business unit with strong gross margins that is in the late stages of transitioning to a cloud-based SaaS business.

Expanding into new markets
Headquartered in the UK, Square Box Systems grew by more than 20% in the last year and has over 1,500 commercial software deployments and tens of thousands of individual users worldwide, including many customers that use CatDV with Quantum StorNext.

CatDV is used today in post-production, corporate video, sports, government and education markets, and has potential to expand to other markets using designed plug-ins for expanded use cases such as genomics research, autonomous vehicle design, geospatial exploration, and any use case dealing with large unstructured data. IT is integrated with aN ecosystem of storage vendors and other technology providers, and Quantum is committed to maintaining this open ecosystem and multi-vendor support.

As CatDV grows and becomes a bigger player across the industry, there’s more we want to do, building on CatDV’s success and taking it to a new level,” says Rolf Howarth, founder and CTO, Square Box Systems, now principal architect at Quantum. “I am excited at the prospect of working with Quantum, taking CatDV into new markets and solving new business problems, at the same time as continuing to work with our existing customers and partners.”

Dave Clack, former CEO of Square Box Systems and GM, cloud software and analytics, Quantum, adds: “Joining forces with Quantum makes CatDV much stronger: becoming part of a larger organization with its visionary leadership team, whilst gaining access to an amazing pool of talent, gives CatDV more opportunity to better serve our existing and future customers. The direction of both firms is already aligned; a clear focus on data management, orchestration at scale, cloud, and automation of service delivery, all unlocking amazing returns for our clients.”

Opportunity to Provide Turnkey Solution to Small Media Workgroups
Many of the largest studios, broadcasters, and content producers have complex workflows, and have the budget and infrastructure to deploy customized and integrated media asset management (MAM) systems to manage their workflows end to end. In these larger environments, Quantum has integration and will continue to partner with these MAM vendors to provide the best solutions to these customers. 

However, smaller workgroups such as those in corporate video, education, and houses of worship have a need for a more simple, turnkey solution that provides basic functionality to be able to index, search, and manage their content on a shared storage platform. Quantum intends to combine the CatDV software with StorNext to provide an all-in-one workgroup appliance and better serve the needs of this market with a differentiated offering.