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CNT, Iron Mountain team on SSP initiative

Computer Network Technology Corp., a provider of storage networking solutions based in Minneapolis, Minn., and Iron Mountain Inc., an information management services company in Boston, Mass., announced an alliance to provide outsourced electronic tape vaulting services. Analysts say that this signifies a move toward becoming a storage service providers (SSP).

"They went with tape backup first because it is the first, most basic step on the way to becoming a storage service provider," said William P. Hurley, program manager for The Yankee Group in Boston, MA. "It's a wedding of Iron Mountain on one side with a good reputation in tape and data warehousing and extensive market presence, and CNT providing the enabling extension of a SAN via Fibre Channel connections."

The CNT, Iron Mountain alliance will furnish both the customer site and a nearby Iron Mountain offsite vaulting facility with a CNT digital data network using CNT's UltraNet product and network services offerings. Customers will send incremental updates to backup tapes that are already in a local Iron Mountain offsite vaulting facility, allowing the backups to be created offsite and protecting the customer's mission-critical data.

Hurley believes that CNT and Iron Mountain have recognized SSPs as the wave of the future and are making moves to ensure that they are established in the market. "They [along with other SSPs] are trying to generate higher levels of confidence. The SSP model has yet to be 'pressure-cooked'," he said. Hurley said that the issue of security is making it difficult to sign up new customers, but he expects that the SSP model will gain acceptance in the near future.

"I would expect that they will expand their offering of services," he said indicating that CNT and Iron Mountain are looking to grow into a full-blown SSP. "Iron Mountain is a natural and CNT is a SAN enabler. It's a great first-step partnership," he said.

The heads of Iron Mountain and CNT, believe that they are filling a need in the storage industry through their new alliance.

"Every CFO and CIO in the United States is in search of a more cost-effective way of securing their information assets. This is an opportunity for us to mutually satisfy this need," said Thomas G. Hudson, chairman, president and chief executive officer of CNT. Richard Reese is Iron Mountain's CEO.

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