CommVault, a Bell Labs spin-off, has provided Simpana, a "data management platform" capable of writing to any heterogeneous storage solution, since the 1990's, according to CommVault Director of Cloud Solutions Jeff Echols. More recent additions to the platform include smart policy management and data deduplication. They had their IPO (Symbol: CVLT) in 2006, and CommVault has reported consistent, organic growth since that time.
Today's news means that resellers leveraging Simpana 8 can store backups and archived data to Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Windows Azure, and Nirvanix (EMC and Iron Mountain partnerships are coming soon), as if they were local disks. Echols calls it "far-line" storage, since you're keeping your backups, well, far away, rather than on a tape in a bank vault downtown. In fact, CommVault is helping Boise State University replace their tape backup system with a Simpana solution, Echols says.
Linking to cloud storage services is part of a growing trend, involving everyone from Asigra to Vembu. Let me just reiterate: The service providers who get ahead in an increasingly software as a service (SaaS) world are going to be the ones that meld on-premises with the cloud.