ADIC offers SAN backup services
Company to acquire MountainGate
With the announcement of Open SAN Solutions last month, ADIC added its name to the growing list of systems providers, storage-centric integrators, and tape library manufacturers offering storage area network (SAN) services. Though the level of SAN support varies from vendor to vendor, all are addressing the underlying implementation and interoperability issues associated with early SAN deployments.
Since backup is one of the first SAN applications, it`s not surprising that library vendors are getting into the services act. "We`ve got the part that moves [the robot], so when the system stops, users call us," says Steve Whitner, ADIC`s director of marketing. "However, our goal is to play a more important role as a total storage system provider."
The Open SAN package consists of SAN networking devices (e.g., host bus adapters, hubs, routers, and switches) and software, FibreReady libraries, and planning, implementation, and support services--all of which fall under the auspices of the newly formed Professional Services Group. ADIC has certified products from Ancor, Computer Associates, Crossroads, Emulex, Finisar, Legato, and Veritas.
Requiring a level of hardware and software sophistication significantly greater than that of traditional backup architectures, SAN expertise can take years to develop. "We`ve been working on it for more than two and a half years, starting with our strategic partnership and minority equity investment in Crossroads in 1997," says Whitner. "The channel is now leaning on us not only for products, but for services and support."
Meanwhile, other library vendors, such as Exabyte, have chosen the less resource-intensive approach of training channel partners in these services (see "Exabyte repositions, targets SANs," InfoStor, July, p. 8). At this early stage of SAN development, Whitner believes the channel isn`t ready to fully support the technology: "Maybe in a year or so, but not until SANs become mainstream."
The venture also leverages ADIC`s 1998 acquisition of Denver-based Emass, Raytheon`s former tape storage division. "Part of what we liked about Emass was its strong service and support organization in the high-end," says Whitner. ADIC hopes to apply that expertise to the client-server arena using professional services staff primarily out of Denver.
"Another thing we liked about Emass was its large libraries and near-line software," adds Whitner. "There`s a tremendous market for large-capacity storage devices in SANs, not simply for backup, but also for near-line archival," he says.
Toward that end, ADIC late last month acquired software vendor MountainGate Imaging Systems Corp. Of particular interest was MountainGate`s CentraVision software, which was developed for the high-bandwidth video market. Its distributed file system enables users to share large files across a cross-platform SAN. (For more information on SAN file-sharing software, see the Special Report, August, pp. 14-19.) ADIC says it will integrate the software into its high-end libraries over the next several months.