In the wake of Iron Mountain's acquisition of backup vendor Connected both companies' customers should demand service-level guarantees, Gartner has advised.

According to Gartner analysts Adam Couture and Carolyn DiCenzo, the move will help off-site storage and document archiving firm Iron Mountain aggressively target electronic services. But it raises serious concerns for existing customers.

Iron Mountain has said that it expects to close its $117 million cash acquisition of Connected in the final quarter of this year. After which it plans to eventually migrate Connected's data centre operations in the United States and Britain to its own facilities.

Iron Mountain offers three key electronic services: server backup (through a partnership with LiveVault); PC backup (through a partnership with Connected); and an in-house offering for email and document archiving.

Customers of Iron Mountain's server backup system should demand contractual guarantees of no-cost transition of data to LiveVault if Iron Mountain chooses to move away from its existing offering (which is based on LiveVault), Gartner advised.

Users of the mailbox management option for Iron Mountain's email archiving solution were advised to delay purchases until a product road map is available.

However, the move was seen as more positive for users of Ironmountain's Connected PC backup product and service, who should view this acquisition as strengthening Connected's viability.

"Connected's services should add value to Iron Mountain's electronic offering. But selling its archiving product will take Iron Mountain into a type of business where it lacks experience," the analysis stated.

"The Connected purchase should help the archiving giant strengthen its electronic services offering. Iron Mountain derives most of its revenue from paper-document storage and from related services such as storage of backup tapes."

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