By Lisa Coleman
The storage service provider (SSP) market is attracting more and more vendors on almost a weekly basis. Most recently, Skokie, IL-based Forsythe Solutions Group, a 30-year-old technology infrastructure provider, and its subsidiary Nuclio will team with EMC to provide storage services.
Analysts are tracking more than 20 companies in the storage service outsourcing market. Gartner Dataquest predicts a revenue increase from $89 million in 2000 to $7.5 billion in 2003 for the SSP market. Analysts attribute market growth to a variety of factors, including the high cost of owning storage equipment and the lack of IT expertise to manage it.
Both Forsythe's and Nuclio's customers were asking for storage provided as a utility. According to Phil Tenca, vice president of storage at Forsythe, entry into the SSP market is "a natural extension of our customers' requests, and basically it's what we need to do to keep competitive."
Nuclio will provide network and systems management, monitoring, and reporting services accompanying Forsythe's IT infrastructure. The companies' SSP pricing model - a monthly subscription - will be consistent with some of its competitors, but will reflect Forsythe's and Nuclio's offerings of end-to-end managed services, according to Tenca. Both companies believe this level of service will differentiate them from the current crop of SSPs. "We can provide the entire infrastructure - from the server, down to the network components, and various co-location capabilities," says Mike Coffield, senior vice president of channel marketing at Nuclio. In addition, the companies will manage storage at customers' sites and handle application management.
Because Forsythe is a privately-held company, it is not relying on venture capital funding like some of its SSP competitors. Because of the proliferation of SSPs, some analysts have cautioned end users to be wary of SSPs lacking funding. With more than 20 SSPs to choose from, analysts are predicting consolidation over the next few years.