StorageNetworks debuts service line, targets untapped markets

StorageNetworks Inc., a Waltham, Mass.-based provider of data storage management services, is unwrapping a new service line called STORfusion, a platform of software, processes, monitoring and management for telecommunication companies and Internet service providers.

The software includes StorageNetworks STORos storage operating system, Virtual Storage Portal (VSP) management software and STORvision command and control software. StorageNetworks installs its platform, educates the service provider on data storage services and monitors the storage from its global operations center.

Some analysts said StorageNetworks is on target with the new service line because telco and xSPs are in search of new ways to add value to their customers. Gartner analyst Adam Couture said many companies are looking hard at data storage services, but lack the know-how to bring storage to their customers.

"[Service providers and telecommunication companies] don't have the experience with the storage utility model or the people on board to develop it, but they have all the major underpinnings. They have the backbone and infrastructure," said Couture.

By partnering with StorageNetworks, the company said, telcos and service providers can roll out storage services much more quickly than if they were to develop them on their own, potentially boosting revenue with a quicker time to market.

It's a rough patch for the SSPs and evolving business models is key to survival in the SSP market, said Couture. Those that cannot make changes and add new services are dead in the water, he said.

The combination of software and education gives xSPs the capabilities of a storage service provider (SSP), according to Jason Heroux, senior business line manager, STORfusion. StorageNetworks is banking on its experience as an SSP as a selling point for the new service, offering xSPs quick penetration in data storage services by leveraging their existing infrastructure with StorageNetworks' operating platform.

The company hopes the STORfusion service will expand its reach into new geographic and vertical markets.

Doug Chandler, program manager, International Data Corp. (IDC) said the new service should get StorageNetworks' services into more customers, by now having an indirect sales strategy as well as their direct sales strategy. While overall Chandler sees STORfusion as a good move, one possible hindrance is the general weakness in the "service provider" or "SP" market right now. "Service providers are the target customer or partner for this service, and a lot of them are going under. StorageNetworks would be wise to also sell this through the traditional channel (e.g., VARs, resellers, etc.) and basically anyone else that's appropriate," said Chandler.

IDC is still bullish on the storage utility model, where centralized storage is owned by the SSP and then "rented" out over a network, but Chandler said, the uptake by customers has been slow.

IDC's forecast for the SSP market remains strong, but they are keeping an eye on how the economy shifts and are looking for any specific impact on the SSP market.

StorageNetworks has managed to adapt to these conditions and now is providing a much more traditional storage management service (STORManage, and STORFusion) as well as their original PACS services, which adhere to the storage utility approach, said Chandler.

The first major customer for StorageNetworks new service line is Fujitsu Ltd. The Japanese service provider will implement STORfusion in their Tokyo data center. Under terms of the agreement, StorageNetworks will let Fujitsu provide data storage management services to enterprise customers co-located at Fujitsu and other data centers in Japan.

STORfusion services are available now in the U.S., Europe and the Asia?Pacific region.

Let us know what you think about the story, e-mail Kevin Komiega, assistant news editor

For more information:

StorageNetworks announces STORfusion

StorageNetworks bucks down market

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