Quantum to diversify
By Dave Simpson
To differentiate its two distinct product lines and lay the groundwork for diversification into new storage markets, Quantum last month proposed to splitting itself into two separate business units and to issue two classes of tracking stock. The two businesses--the Hard Disk Drive Group and the DLT & Storage Systems Group--would be traded separately on the stock exchange. The plan may take four to six months, depending on SEC and shareholder approval.
"Despite the success of the DLT business, Quantum`s stock and market capitalization is very much following the disk drive model," says Peter van Cuylenburg, president of the DLT & Storage Systems Group. He contends that separating the businesses will facilitate making acquisitions and moving into new markets.
Quantum also hinted at a strategy to broaden its product lines. For example, the company plans to add disk drives and optical drives to its ATL Products subsidiary`s tape libraries, which are based on the Prism architecture. Van Cuylenburg says that might include a virtual tape implementation for open systems, in which hard drives are used as cache for the tape library. Virtual tape systems are currently sold only in the mainframe market, by vendors such as IBM, StorageTek, and Sutmyn. Products are expected "in the next 12 months."
Van Cuylenburg also says Quantum will manufacture network-attached storage "appliances" aimed at workgroup environments. The appliances will support Sun`s Jini software, which provides peer-to-peer communications for networked devices. (For more information on Jini, and its implications for storage, see the Analyst View in this issue.)