By Heidi Biggar
While other start-ups struggle to keep afloat, AppIQ, a three-and-a-half year-old provider of standards-based storage management software, continues to gain traction in the market, inking a number of significant OEM and technology development agreements over the past several months.
In the last two weeks alone, AppIQ has signed deals with Hewlett-Packard and Xiotech. AppIP has existing OEM agreements with Engenio (Nov. '04), Hitachi Data Systems (Oct. '03), Silicon Graphics (Sept. '03), and Sun (Feb. '04), as well as a collaborative relationship with Intel that focuses on standards-based management for iSCSI SANs.
Although the scope of the AppIQ-HP and AppIQ-Xiotech relationships differs significantly (the HP relationship extends to both OEM distribution and technology development; and the Xiotech one, to technology development only), both speak to the increasing need for SMI-S-based storage management, according to analysts.
SMI-S-based management tools, such as AppIQ's StorageAuthority Suite, are designed to break vendor lock-in, allowing users to build and more easily manage heterogeneous storage environments (hardware and software).
"AppIQ has been the choice for those who care about being SMI-S-compliant," says Steve Duplessie, founder and senior analyst at the Enterprise Strategy Group (ESG) consulting firm. "This position has served them well since users are now starting to demand SMI-S compliance from their primary storage vendors.
"Standards are no longer a 'nice to have' [but] are mandatory if users want to get their jobs done," adds Duplessie. "By the end of the year, you can expect that users will start voting with their pocketbooks and if [a vendor] has only been paying lip service to becoming standards-compliant, it is going to find itself on the wrong end of the money chain."
Xiotech is working with AppIQ to develop an SMI-S interface for its Magnitude 3D storage systems, which would enable the arrays to interoperate in a heterogeneous storage environment and perform a variety of storage services, such as discovery, provisioning, event management, path management, capacity management, and real-time performance monitoring.
"We have partnered with AppIQ to develop and SMI-S [interface] for Magnitude 3D to make it easier for our customers to operate in a heterogeneous environment," says Mike Stolz, executive vice president of marketing, Xiotech.
Xiotech expects to make the SMI-S interface available in the second quarter of this year.
Hewlett-Packard, meanwhile, is both OEM'ing StorageAuthority (selling it under the HP StorageWorks Storage Essentials label) and working with AppIQ to develop additional functionality for the product going forward.
HP StorageWorks Storage Essentials is a key component of the company's vision to consolidate server and storage management. Both Storage Essentials and Server Essentials plug into HP's Systems Insight Manager for ease of management.
AppIQ released StorageAuthority version 3.6 last October. The company claims to have shipped product (via its OEM partners) to more than 150 customers worldwide.
"AppIQ has a core competency in SMI-S interface development that helps IHVs accelerate their delivery of native SMI-S interfaces," says Doug Cahill, vice president of business development at AppIQ. "Our APIs enable our partners to do their own value-add development on top of the AppIQ platform."