If you look back to the 1999-2001 timeframe, companies like StorageNetworks were going after the primary storage for large commercial enterprises. The pitch then was, 'Let us manage your storage, that way you won't have to worry about it. It's easier for you, and we can do it less expensively than you can.' What they found was that companies were uncomfortable turning over their primary storage to an outside vendor. There were security...
and control issues, and the technology just didn't provide a good way to address these issues for those large end users.
But over the past five years, technology has provided much better ways to deal with security and control issues. There's been a culture change where people are a lot more comfortable now working with outsourced services. The success of companies like SAT and SalesForce.com, that are basically outsourcing applications services, has made people much more amenable to this kind of thing.
But the biggest reason why this new round of Storage as a Service is succeeding is because these vendors are not targeting primary storage. They're targeting secondary storage applications, like backup and archive. People are much more comfortable turning those types of applications over to outsourced companies. In the managed service provider space, there are literally hundreds, if not thousands of companies that are selling online backup services and storage as a servicemany of them based on technology from companies like Asigra and Roboback and rebranded.
We also have seen companies come out with cloud-based storage offerings. Companies like Amazon, with their S3 offering, EMC with their Mozy offering and Symantec's Protection Network. Those tend to target smaller customers Though you've also got companies like Nirvanix who are clearly going after larger enterprises and touting enterprise benefits and scalability.