Hardly a day goes by without a new storage service rolling out. On Monday, it was IBM’s turn to launch two storage services as part of its portfolio of services for midsized customers – organizations with 100 to 400 employees and a handful of Windows servers.
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The interesting thing about IBM’s Remote Data Protection Express and E-Mail Management Express offerings is they are the first new services IBM has launched from its Arsenal Digital Solutions acquisition in December. The Arsenal brand is gone but the remote data protection service is the same one that Arsenal offered, even still including data deduplication from EMC’s Avamar.
The email archiving service is something Arsenal was working on at the time of the acquisition, pushed to market quicker with IBM technology.
“Email management is a new offering [for Arsenal],” said Arsenal alum Brian Reagan, now an IBM Information Protection Services executive. “Under the covers we’ve started to adopt and integrate more IBM offerings.”
The email service covers Exchange and Lotus Notes, and Reagan said database and unstructured data archiving services are in the works.
Since Arsenal was into managed storage services long before anybody talked of clouds and SaaS (software as a service), I asked Reagan if he thought IBM should have kept the Arsenal brand. He said Arsenal did have a name for itself and partnerships with AT&T and other large providers, but IBM is a pretty recognizable name too.
“We get the benefit of IBM’s brand,” he said. “As Arsenal, we would have to spend twice as much money to get the attention of customers because they didn’t know who we were.” Reagan pointed out that IBM ran advertisements for its services during the PGA Masters broadcast. “That was something Arsenal could only dream of,” Reagan added.
Then again, you don’t have to be IBM to attract attention for storage services these days. Everybody’s getting into the cloud act, and Reagan says the glut of offerings have served mostly to confuse customers.
“There’s a tremendous amount of customer interest,” he said. “The downside is, it’s created confusion. Some of the really low end players that only service the consumer end of the market have clouded the picture. They’ve confused people wondering what the difference is between low end service that’s priced too good to be true and real resilient service.”
In other words, it will take awhile before enough sun shines on cloud computing so we can really know what to expect.