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Analyze that: XIOtech

As part of our "Analyze that" series, Storage Practice Director Ron Lovell of Greenwich Technology Partners dissects XIOtech. Ron shares insights on the company's strengths, weaknesses and some steps to consider in order to remain competitive.

Which of XIOtech's storage products do you think will still be around in 3 years?
As storage becomes more of a commodity and data movement functionality moves into existing tier one switch product lines, XIOtech will find it increasingly difficult to compete in the storage marketplace. However, moving their technology into that space through partnerships will help ensure XIOtech's longevity. Which products should the company think about discontinuing?
XIOtech may want to leverage storage management functionality from SRM vendors instead of continuing to develop their own. Can you give a brief overview of XIOtech's product line as it relates to storage?
When I first met XIOtech's founders back in '98-'99, they were creating an any-to-any storage technology product that was not even in general availability at the time. They have since broadened their storage solutions to include spinning disk array options and management tools. They have a variety of high availability options, such as remote data replication and backup options. XIOtech also supports NAS functionality in conjunction with Veritas ServPoint and some nice integration with Oracle. In addition, they have developed several enterprise solutions for Microsoft.

XIOtech's Magnitude solution provides the following benefits: Fast provisioning, booting off the SAN, snapping, remote data movement, writing to tape, and 80MB per second throughput. This makes it a great midrange solution. Who or what do you see as XIOtech's biggest threat?
As storage becomes more of a commodity and data movement functionality moves into existing tier one switch product lines, XIOtech will find it increasingly difficult to compete in the storage marketplace. Brocade and Cisco are two of the larger vendors that are delivering or developing functionality that may eventually eclipse XIOtech. In which direction is XIOtech headed? Do you think it's the right roadmap for the company's future success?
XIOtech is clearly a strong player in the mid and low-end storage tiers and is striving to move into the high-end. Expanding out of its current niche and not competing in the high-end space, keeping its storage offerings ahead of the curve on functionality and price, and working towards enabling the utility data center with improved application integration will likely give XIOtech a better chance of success. In addition, their ever-expanding integration with key technology partners such as Oracle and Microsoft is a positive as well. What has XIOtech done this year to make itself a stronger company?
XIOtech products are currently a niche solution that gets a lot of play in the development and support lab environment. This is because of its excellent in-box storage management capabilities. Currently, XIOtech is working on technology that helps enable the Utility Data Center concept. With better integration into the storage layer, applications will be better able to control their storage directly which will drive a new level of efficiency for data center operations. Additionally, they continue to create more integration points with partners, increasing XIOtech's viability. How should storage managers approach buying from XIOtech? Are they offering deep discounts? Is now a good time to buy?
Storage mangers should be very clear about their requirements and make sure they are truly in line with business needs. In the right situations (lab, development, support, midrange, and low-end), XIOtech has excellent solutions. XIOtech, like all storage vendors, has seen lean times lately. As storage vendors would like to increase their revenue stream, storage managers should be getting good deals, especially at quarter end.

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