Centripetal to enter SSP arena
By Dave Simpson
Storage outsourcing is still hotly debated in IT circles and within the storage industry, but a number of recent developments indicate that the market for storage service providers (SSPs) may be taking off. For example, SSP pioneer StorageNetworks Inc. (SNI) recently completed a third round of financing totaling $103 million. The investment was split evenly between Dell Computer and Global Crossing Ltd. So far, SNI has raised $205 million in funding since its inception in mid-1998. SNI plans to use the money to expand its Global Data Storage Network (GDSN) facilities.
And last month, SNI enhanced its product line with the StoragePort Ac-cess Channel and Virtual Storage Portal (VSP). VSP allows customers to monitor and control their storage resources; it does not allow them to manage those resources. VSP allows users to monitor performance, availability, capacity, usage, and security.
SNI also introduced the StoragePort Access Channel, a wall-mounted plug-in device that allows users to plug in a fiber-optical cable to connect to SNI's GDSN. StoragePort currently uses FC protocols, but SNI plans to add IP services within the next couple months.
The service is primarily aimed at hosting service providers (HSPs), application service providers (ASPs), other xSPs, and "dot.com" companies.
"We expect [storage outsourcing] growth to take off much faster in the dot.com space because they don't have a lot of legacy infrastructure built already, so they can take advantage of the utility model much more quickly," says Ruya Atac, director of network services at SNI. The "utility" model refers to providing storage in much the same way as electricity or gas is provided.
SNI customers include companies such as Computer.com, eCircles.com, essential.com, mValue.com, TechTarget.com and ZDisk.com.
In addition to SNI, a number of startups are testing the SSP waters. Examples include WorldStor (see InfoStor, December 1999, p. 10) and, more recently, Centripetal (www.centripetal.com).
Centripetal planned to enter the SSP market this month with a storage service center in the San Diego area. The startup, which is a subsidiary of Cutting Edge, will provide primary disk storage, as well as tape backup services. Future services will include disaster recovery, according to company president Mike Ehman.