BY LISA COLEMAN
With the recent introduction of its STORfusion service offering, storage service provider (SSP) StorageNetworks may be changing how xSPs and telecommunications companies enter the SSP market, according to analysts.
The STORfusion service allows service providers and telcos to license Storage Networks' proprietary software to co-brand their own service offering. Fujitsu Ltd. is the first company using the service.
Although analysts report decreased funding for SSPs, due in part to end users' reluctance to outsource storage, the "storage utility" market is still expected to skyrocket from $400 million this year to $6.5 billion in 2005, according to International Data Corp.
"We can help increase controls over [service provider] environments, decrease the complexity in their storage environment, and ultimately reduce costs on their storage infrastructure," says Susan Frankle, senior director of corporate marketing for StorageNetworks.
StorageNetworks will deliver its proprietary software and network equipment to partners who want to provide storage management services.
Fujitsu needed an SSP to deliver scalable software and multi-vendor infrastructures, says Yoshihisa Nagano, group executive vice president at Fujitsu. "STOR fusion allows us to quickly enhance our presence in the storage management services market, minimize development expenditures, and leverage our existing customer base to offer value-added services," he adds.
STORfusion lets companies choose between creating an SSP in their own data center or partnering with Storage Networks. "I believe that other telcos and service providers will follow in Fujitsu's footsteps as time-to-market becomes even more critical," says Richard Kugele, research associate at investment banking firm Needham & Co.
The STOR fusion service provides proprietary software, some hardware, and delivery processes. StorageNetworks teaches the company how to deliver data management services and then examines customers' infrastructure to make sure the data center is "world class." Finally, a security review is performed and the ongoing storage management services support is provided.
StorageNet works provides 24x7 monitoring and support, periodic quality assurance, and coordination with technical support. It also installs a storage point of presence (S-POP) manager-its network equipment-to be the "eyes and ears" of the infrastructure.
STORfusion customers obtain and install disk subsystems and deliver the final data storage management service to end users.