Softek flies solo

Posted on May 03, 2004

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By Heidi Biggar

Ending speculation about the company's future ownership, Fujitsu Software Technology Corp. (Fujitsu Softek) recently completed a management-led buyout from parent company Fujitsu Ltd.

The newly formed company, which was incorporated in Delaware as Softek Storage Solutions Inc., will operate as an independent storage management software company. It is funded by financial investors Investcorp, Columbia Capital, and Needham Capital Partners.

Softek will maintain a strategic relationship with Fujitsu Ltd. for at least the next three years, according to company officials. Fujitsu, in turn, will become a Softek OEM, distributor, and reseller.

For now, Fujitsu will bundle Softek's data availability and enterprise storage resource management (ESRM) software with its disk arrays for sale in central Europe, Japan, and other Asia-Pacific markets; work with Softek on joint-sales opportunities in North America, South America, and Europe; and, as a Softek Synergy Partner, sell Softek products worldwide.

The decision to separate from Fujitsu has been months in the making, says Karen Dutch, former vice president of product management for Fujitsu Softek and now general manager of Softek's open-systems group. As for the timing of the launch, Dutch says it is on the mark with ongoing trends, pointing specifically to signs of a strengthening economy and increased storage spending by IT organizations.

According to Gartner, the storage resource management (SRM) market is expected to grow at a five-year compound annual growth rate of 24%; data replication software is projected to post a 9% CAGR over the same period.

But Softek's road is not without obstacles. Despite a base of some 200 open-systems customers (the company reports a total customer base of more than 725, including mainframe customers), Softek is expected to continue to face steep competition from vendors such as Computer Associates, EMC, IBM, and Veritas, as well as a slew of smaller vendors and start-ups.

Softek is expected to announce new releases of its SANView and Storage Manager software products next month.


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