iWave Targeting Storage Automation

By Kenneth Corbin

Enterprise IT shops are running into a series of headwinds that threaten to render the established approach to storage administration untenable, according to iWave Software, a firm specializing in storage automation solutions.

While end-user expectations for a level of service are assumed to be on a sustained rise, so too are data volumes on a path of exponential growth, rapidly outpacing the resources that most IT budgets will allocate to supporting storage.

iWave CTO Dean Sheehan cites industry estimates projecting that the volume of storage IT departments will have to manage is poised to increase at more than 10 times the rate of growth in the personnel who support and manage those systems by 2020.

"There is a gap between what enterprises need when it comes to storage and what their staffs can handle," he said.

Thus, iWave makes the case for automating storage in a cloud-based environment. No wonder then that the company has branded its core product the iWave Storage Automator, a solution that, once policies are in place, automates many of the tasks that typically fall to storage administrators, such as provisioning, reclamation and fault remediation, eliminating the need for manual effort. The product maintains those functions within a catalog of storage services that is accessible to end users, although restricted by role.

iWave also touts an improved end-user experience by slashing the window for provisioning new storage from weeks to hours. The Storage Automator product provides users with a self-service portal through which they can submit and track requests for added storage as well as higher-end actions, such as migrations and replications.

The system builds on a firm's existing storage infrastructure to create a private cloud that removes the barriers commonly associated with other approaches to storage automation, which iWave describes as creating a siloed environment in which management consoles are tethered to a given vendor or product line.

iWave Software is a privately held affiliate of the Hall Financial Group. It sells primarily through OEMs and its network of channel partners. In the future, however, the organization plans to begin selling the Storage Automator product directly to customers alongside its OEM and channel distribution.

Founded in 1993, iWave is not exactly an upstart in the tech sector. However, it recently recast its focus on automation and solutions for the era of cloud computing. Historically, iWave had concentrated on data center integration software. In 2008, the company pivoted to focus on automation and cloud computing, and in 2010 it began developing the Storage Automator product "to help storage administrators bridge the growth and services gap they experience daily," Sheehan explained.

Over the years, iWave forged partnerships with many of the leading enterprise players, ranging from VMware and Microsoft to EMC and HP. Looking ahead, iWave is planning to roll out expanded support for the storage arrays of Dell, IBM and HP, Sheehan said.

Additionally, the firm plans to devote considerable energy to promoting its message of automation as it looks to wean enterprises away from their established patterns of storage administration.

"The biggest challenge is that there really hasn't been a lot of change in the way organizations manage their storage infrastructures in the past 20 years. Change is always tough," Sheehan said, arguing for a fundamental rethinking of the conventional approach to storage administration, as data volumes proliferate and end-users' expectations rise. "Overcoming this status quo is a challenge, and our goal is to educate the market on the benefits of offering fully automated storage services directly to storage users."

Kenneth Corbin is a freelance writer based in Washington, D.C. He has written on politics, technology and other subjects for more than four years, most recently as the Washington correspondent for InternetNews.com, covering Congress, the White House, the FCC and other regulatory affairs. He can be found on LinkedIn here

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This article was originally published on February 29, 2012