Does SaaS for storage makesense?


Dave Simpson

Although the acronym “SaaS” doesn’t work well in the storage market—because we already have a SAS, as in Serial Attached SCSI—Software as a Service (SaaS) as applied to storage applications may be one of the hottest trends this year.

SaaS isn’t new; it has been successfully employed in a variety of non-storage IT applications for years. In fact, it’s not even new to the storage market: A wide variety of vendors, including Arsenal Digital, Asigra, Iron Mountain Digital, eVault, ROBObak, and many others, have been offering storage SaaS for a long time. But the entry into the storage SaaS market by big guns such as EMC, IBM, and Symantec would lead us to believe this is a major trend.

Let’s call it SSP 2.0, because SaaS in a storage context is sort of the second coming of storage service providers (SSPs) which, after appearing as the “next big thing” about five years ago, went fins up for a variety of reasons.

One big reason was that a lot of the SSP models were predicated on the concept of a company turning over its data to relatively unknown start-ups—an inherently bad idea for most companies.

The new delivery model—storage SaaS—doesn’t necessarily entail turning over your data to a third party. And there are a number of other reasons why the original concepts behind SSPs may make more sense today than they did five years ago. To find out why, read “Software as a Service (SaaS) meets storage,” p. 24, by Taneja Group analyst Rich Bourdeau.

Today, storage SaaS is limited mostly to backup-and-recovery services, which is where it makes the most sense. But there’s no reason why other storage services (e.g., storage management, security, etc.) won’t migrate to the SaaS model in the near future.

For an interesting take on the Software as a Service vs. Storage as a Service terminology issue, check out John Webster’s “SaaS or SaaS?” article at www.illuminata.com.

Also in this issue


Last month, I explained why end users will migrate to 8Gbps Fibre Channel—even though they may not need the speed. This month, check out Jack Fegreus’ Lab Review, “8Gbps FC SAN delivers blazing speed,” p. 28, which takes the lid off one of the first 8Gbps SANs. Sure, it’s fast, but even more impressive may be how easy the HP StorageWorks Simple SAN Connection Kit is to set up, configure, and manage. Finally, a SAN for SMBs—without iSCSI.

This article was originally published on April 01, 2008