Cisco buys Actona for remote backup apps

Cisco Systems Tuesday announced it has agreed to buy Actona Technologies, a maker of software that manages the backup and storage of files from remote offices. Cisco will pay about US$82 (AU$119) million for the firm.

Cisco says the Actona software will help Cisco users organize the backup and storage of data on remote laptops, servers and other equipment. This could allow users with remote offices connected via a WAN to consolidate data backup into a central repository, rather than backing up remote data at each site, which can be costly and inefficient, Cisco says.

Founded in 2000, Actona has 48 employees in the United States and in Haifa, Israel. In addition to the cash purchase, Cisco will convert outstanding Actona options to Cisco stock. The acquisition is expected to close in the first quarter of Cisco's fiscal year 2005, which ends in October of this year.

Cisco says the Actona technology can run on generic hardware, and may be ported to a Cisco appliance, which would give WAN-connected remote offices access to global file systems and data center resources hosted from a central site. Cisco says it will put the Actona software on blades for its branch-office routers, such as the 2600 and 3600 series.

Over the past few years, Cisco has built several technologies into its branch-office routers. These include blades that provide CallManager IP PBX and voicemail features, content caching and delivery services, as well as security technology. The vendor calls these technologies its "Full Service Branch" product line.

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