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StorageWay, StorageNetworks, EMC rub elbows in Exodus data centers

Exodus has stacked the deck in storage options.

The Internet hosting and managed services provider, based in Santa Clara, Calif., has joined forces with another Storage Service Provider (SSP), StorageWay, Inc., in a reseller agreement. Exodus made recent similar agreements with StorageNetworks, Inc., Waltham, Mass., and storage hardware giant, EMC Corp.

Exodus says this most recent partnership with the Fremont, Calif.-based StorageWay is a step toward its goal of offering enterprise and companies a selection of best of breed solutions for managed storage.

Exodus claims that while the new deal with StorageWay is similar to that of StorageNetworks, it differs in several ways.

"StorageWay and StorageNetworks both provide fully managed storage services to their customers, such as disk on demand and tape backup and restore on a utility basis," said John Pecoraro, public relations manager for Exodus. "They both are Exodus customers and have created storage facilities with state of the art storage equipment in their respective cages. However, there are many differences between the two storage service providers as well."

Pecoraro explained that StorageWay offers a one-year contract to their customers, whereas StorageNetworks offers a three-year contract. He said that some customers prefer short engagements, due to uncertainty in forecasts for capacity needs beyond one year. "StorageNetworks customers typically have a more mature business presence and realize now what their needs will be over the course of the next few years," he said. StorageWay would position itself with the dot-com type customers, while StorageNetworks solutions will relate to the Enterprise class customers.

Pecoraro said that StorageNetworks has a more complete set of storage options than its younger counterpart, StorageWay. "StorageNetworks offers a more robust basket of offerings including DataPACS (disk on demand), BackPACS (tape backup and restore), NetPACS (Network Attached Storage), and SafePACS (remote copy). StorageWay does not currently offer network attached storage or remote copy, but will price more aggressively for their OutStore (disk on demand) and OutBackUp (tape backup and restore) solutions."

He reiterated that customers with greater requirements for function may choose a solution from StorageNetworks to meet these needs, while a customer with disk on demand and tape backup necessities only, might choose StorageWay.

John Webster, an analysts with Illuminata, Inc., Nashua, N.H., said that the player standing to gain the most from this relationship is StorageWay. "They're a well-financed, up-and-comer and need deals like this with a recognized name Internet Data Center (IDC) to achieve 'escape velocity,' he said. "The deal with StorageWay gives Exodus yet another alternative--probably at a lower cost. Also, these data centers will probably not accommodate any more than two SSPs at any given site, so getting in early will tend to 'lock-out' all but one of your competitors," Webster said.

Pecoraro disagrees. He said that while Exodus' IDCs can accommodate more than two SSPs, space availability will have more of an impact on the number of SSPs at a given IDC.

Under the new agreement, Exodus will resell StorageWay's suite of storage services, including OutStore, a utility-like offering of managed, RAID protected storage, and OutBackUp, a set of backup services through the same utility connection. Exodus will also provide first call technical support for customers who purchase the service directly from Exodus. StorageWay's Outstore and OutBackUp services are available now throughout Exodus' global network of IDCs.

"It is an excellent opportunity for both Exodus and StorageWay," added William Hurley, program manager for the Boston, Mass.-based Yankee Group. "StorageWay can now expand its footprint, while Exodus can expand its menu of value-added storage services." Hurley said that the competitive landscape should benefit end customers in price points as both StorageWay and StorageNetworks, Inc. will vie for the same customers. "It will also keep both vendors on-top of their SLA (service level agreement) performance. I believe its a win, win, win arrangement," he said.

Webster remarked that more interesting than the recent StorageWay agreement is the relationships with StorageNetworks and EMC.

"I think the most interesting development came two weeks ago when the EMC/Exodus deal was announced," he said. "EMC is now competing directly with SSPs, whereas before, they were simply supplying hardware and software."

Now, a customer coming to Exodus can get storage services provided by StorageNetworks or StorageWay via Exodus, or can acquire EMC hardware and software, also provided by Exodus.

"Ergo," he said, "EMC now competes directly with SSPs, at least within the walls of an Exodus IDC."

According to EMC, the deal with Exodus puts its sales force side-by-side Exodus sales team. EMC will install and service all EMC systems. As part of this agreement, Exodus is also able to purchase EMC systems and software and then develop their own, value-added offerings based on EMC's technology. This, EMC says, will allow Exodus' small- and medium-sized customers to take advantage of the benefits of an EMC e-infostructure. EMC points to the agreement as "an example of EMC's ability to partner with xSPs and add value to their environment."

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

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