BY HEIDI BIGGAR
Lured by the prospect of a multi-billion dollar market opportunity, Fujitsu last week threw its hat into the storage management software ring, launching Fujitsu Software Corp. (Fujitsu Softek) and a trio of new software options for managing heterogeneous storage area networks (SANs).
The new company, which has reportedly been in development for several years, leverages the software, services, and support of Fujitsu Ltd. and its subsidiary Amdahl Corp., which has been re-positioned as a services company, according to company officials.
"Our objective is to simplify the data storage environment and reduce the cost of managing heterogeneous SANs by offering both point solutions and product suites," says Steve Murphy, CEO of the Sunnyvale, CA, start-up. Although Murphy says he can't promise interoperability with every vendor's product, he says interoperability with the top five platforms is certain.
The move also reflects Fujitsu's intent to expand its IT presence globally, particularly in North America and European, company officials say. These two markets are estimated to comprise up to 85% of the worldwide storage management opportunity.
"They've dabbled in software in Japan, but they haven't played worldwide," says Carolyn DiCenzo, a chief analyst with Gartner Group/Dataquest. "[However,] they have big company support and a customer base that knows the Amdahl name."
Amdahl Transparent Data Migration Facility (TDMF), for example, has reportedly generated more than $100 million in revenue from an installed base of about 300 customers. The company also reports significant success with its data-recovery backup monitoring tool, DR Manager, and its quality-of-service (QoS) product, Softek EnView, among others.
While this combination does not ensure Fujitsu Softek's success in the storage management arena, it does give them a leg up against certain contenders, particularly smaller start-ups, according to DiCenzo.
"We're not trying to compete head on with any particular company," says Murphy. "Our objective is to interoperate with all the software players and add value to their products, including EMC's."
To that end, Fujitsu Softek says it will continue to partner with and acquire software companies. As examples, Murphy cites the company's acquisition of a Montreal-based company for its Tivoli and CA-Unicenter agents, and of another firm for its QoS software. The company has also licensed technology from software vendor DataCore, whose virtualization technology is the basis for Fujitsu Softek's Storage Virtualization product. Murphy says its storage resource management (SRM) software is homegrown.
Softek products will be marketed primarily to Global 1000 companies, with particular emphasis on the financial and insurance industries and the storage service provider (SSP) space. Murphy projects first-year revenues of more than $90 million. Last year, the worldwide storage management market grew to approximately $5.6 billion, according to Gartner, and that number is expected to exceed $14 billion in 2004.
Fujitsu Softek's new software products focus specifically on the storage infrastructure and storage resource management (SRM) space-a market many believe will be the next "killer apps," replacing traditional backup applications.
"Storage infrastructure and storage resource management will be the next 'killer app' zone," predicts Steve Murphy, CEO of the Sunnyvale, CA, start-up. "People want to be able visualize their SAN [storage area network] architecture, understand its logical and physical attributes...and provision capacity on demand."
To that end, Fujitsu has assembled a suite of software options with virtualization, resource management, and monitoring capabilities. The products can be purchased separately or as bundles and are priced from $50,000.
Softek's legacy offerings include Transparent Data Migration Facility (TDMF), DR Manager, EnView, and Backup, NetWorker Edition. New products include Softek Storage Virtualization, Storage Resource Manager, and SANView.