StorageNetworks bets on software

By Lisa Coleman

StorageNetworks put another feather in its software and services cap with a contract win from IT services company EDS, but it also hopes the contract will make a strong impact on the network storage management software market.

Since its inception three years ago, StorageNetworks has been developing software and transitioning from the ill-fated storage service provider (SSP) model into storage management software and services.

Under StorageNetworks' STORfusion program, EDS will implement software and support programs for centralized monitoring and managing of its data storage. EDS will also leverage StorageNetworks' interoperability labs for testing other vendors' storage technologies.

STORfusion enables companies to be their own service provider and to more efficiently provide data management services to their internal organizations by using StorageNetworks proprietary software, including its STORos operating system, STORvision, and virtual storage portals. It also provides 24x7 monitoring and support. Over the next few months, EDS will implement STORfusion in three data centers around the world, including facilities in the southwestern U.S., Germany, and Australia. Eventually, EDS will roll out the services in its other 10 data centers.

StorageNetworks neither confirmed nor denied the possibility of providing its software in more traditional ways such as a shrink-wrapped stand-alone product in the near future.

While EDS becomes StorageNetworks' third largest customer, the company is also betting on the impact this new contract will have on the network storage management software space, according to John Clavin, executive vice president of marketing at StorageNetworks.

Clavin hopes that end users will look to software and services approaches for managing multi-vendor storage systems. But StorageNetworks is not alone in providing a consolidated management platform. For example, EMC last fall announced that it would adopt a more flexible, open architecture with its Automated Information Strategy (AutoIS) architecture, which promises to reduce storage management complexity. Last month, EMC released the latest version of ESN Manager Software, which supports EMC Clariion storage systems and Compaq StorageWorks arrays, as well as single-view multi-vendor switch management. Also in January, TrueSAN Networks released Cloudbreak, a storage operating system for managing heterogeneous storage networks from a single centralized platform.

"The question is: How does a company manage its EMC, Hitachi, Sun, Network Appliance, Veritas, and Legato technology? How do they manage that entire infrastructure from a central, single platform? That's the race that's going on this year," says Clavin.

This article was originally published on February 06, 2002