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Start-ups take a run at storage management software

Two storage start-ups believe they've got what it takes to hit the ball out of the storage management ballpark.

NEW YORK -- Two storage start-ups are swinging for fences not yet cleared by some of the industry's heavy-hitters.

Fremont, Calif.-based Rhapsody Networks Inc. and Boulder, Colo.-based CreekPath Systems Inc. spoke at the RCB Capital Markets Storage conference here on Thursday and Friday about plans to bring to market products to tackle storage management.

Rhapsody's plan was outlined by President and CEO Mike Klayko. Klayko said his company was looking for a way to trim the costs of managing a storage network and saw an opportunity by cutting storage administration excess.

"Its clear that the price of computing will continue to come down. But, I feel the area where the total cost of ownership can be most affected is in storage administration," said Klayko.

Klayko also cited a study his company conducted that looked at a day-in-the-life of a storage professional. What the survey, which polled 520 professionals, revealed was that the average storage professional has as many as 51 tasks they need to complete in a routine week.

Looking for ways to automate these processes and centralize storage are precisely the plan for the yet unreleased product that Klayko says is in the Alpha testing stages and is headed for beta shortly.

Klayko also said virtualization will help provide some relief for storage professionals by automating 25% of the existing storage tasks. But he also warned that virtualization is not the answer but "a means to an end".

Virtualization will also play a role in CreekPath Inc.'s Automated Intelligence Management (AIM) Suite.

The suite was conceptualized by CreekPath founder Mike Koclanes - a one-time CIO himself - at easing the responsibilities of CIOs. Kolanes is trying to rein in the juggling act that IT managers have to perform.

"There are four major areas that raise the stress levels of any CIO," Kolanes said. "How to maintain service levels, respond to business continuance, manage growth and cutting costs."

For AIM to accomplish its mission of helping lower CIO's blood pressure it will need to perform the complex tasks Kolanes advertised.

Those in the industry say while the concepts of both Rhapsody's product and CreekPath's are good, they still need to be adopted by larger vendors.

"A lot of companies are trying to create storage management software, but what you need is the vendors to all agree on a system, that I don't think they will ever do," said Jay Lee of San Jose, California-based StorageASP.

This is a concept Kolanes does not disagree with as he has been working to partner with the likes of Sun, EMC, Brocade, Network Appliance and other large vendors.

Kolanes says the AIM will beta this quarter and expects a product release by the second quarter of this year.

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