IBM has signed a definitive agreement confirming its plans to acquire Aspera, a high-speed file transfer software provider. The acquisition extends IBM's Smarter Commerce initiative by enabling businesses to accelerate their digital supply chains with faster secure file delivery. IBM's acquisition of Aspera will complement the company's 30 previous acquisitions in the big data space, totaling approximately $16 billion.
Aspera's unique file-transfer solution relies on FASP (fast and secure protocol) technology, which reduces transmission times for large files by nearly 100 percent; this translates to a decrease from a 26-hour transfer period of a 24-gigabyte file to a 30-second transfer period. The FASP technology diminishes delivery time by eliminating bottlenecks in broadband wide area networks that tend to slow the transfer of large files across vast distances. FASP "allows [Aspera] to maximize the full capacity of a network, reduce the amount of data packet loss, and does it on cheap commodity hardware," Ray Wang, principal analyst and founder at Constellation Research, explains.
In addition to its high speed capability, Aspera's file delivery solution is highly secure. Files that are being transferred are encrypted both in motion and at stops, making the delivery process safer. Aspera's "cryptography is a key component" of its appeal, according to Wang.
Once finalized, the acquisition of Aspera will further IBM's Smarter Commerce initiative, an effort to deliver innovative business processes that help companies buy, market, sell, and service their products and services. To that end, FASP will allow companies to move all social information, videos, chats, and unstructured data required to craft a customer experience and tailor markets for personalization at scale.
"Aspera's patented technology allows for the transfer of extremely large files including not only multimedia such as high-definition, but also customer data. We believe that this acquisition ties in very closely to our Smarter Commerce initiative and its greater aim to help businesses turn customer data into something actionable," Jeanette Barlow, IBM program director of Smarter Commerce Product Management, says.
"Being able to put data into context allows for more relevant offers, better engagement options, and improves overall customer experience," Wang adds.
IBM also hopes to leverage Aspera's file transfer solution to amplify its cloud computing strategy. Aspera can not only make cloud computing faster and more cost effective, but also promises predictability, an element that has made it stand out among competitors, according to Barlow. "Through predictable control, Aspera has the ability to throttle bandwidth up and down as needed, which makes the system more efficient and reliable," Barlow says. Aspera's FASP technology is licensed to many leading cloud computing services and will be integrated with IBM's recently acquired SoftLayer cloud infrastructure later next year, according to a statement from IBM.
Though financial details regarding the acquisition are not yet available, the acquisition of Aspera is expected to close in the first quarter 2014, according to IBM.