• United States

The return of the Storage Service Providers

Mar 02, 20043 mins
Data Center

* SSPs resurface with focused service offerings

I sometimes think that the Storage Service Provider business is a direct parallel to all those bad Japanese movies from the 1960s and early 1970s. 

You will recall that in those days, the movie business was a pretty good way to make money, and if you could just zip some poor guy inside a monster suit and have him flatten a cardboard Tokyo for a few hours the fans would come in droves.  It didn’t matter much if the zipper showed, or if the movies were simply horrible in just about every way; enough people showed up to ensure that the experience was profitable. 

So Godzilla got to trample Tokyo and slaughter lots of people.  He was a bad, baaaaad guy.

Interestingly, in the fullness of time Godzilla was rehabilitated.  After all, he took on Mechagodzilla and a bunch of other bad monsters in a number of movies, saving human kind (which curiously enough always seemed to consist of a mostly Japanese populace plus the addition of Raymond Burr) and becoming lovable.  The big guy eventually faded away, but still keeps popping up in the strangest places from time to time.

SSPs took a nosedive when the dot bombs went off, and most never survived the experience.  For many of them this was a deserved fate, for they offered poorly thought out services that really provided little or no value to their potential clientele.

Today, the SSPs are back, and like Godzilla, they appear to have been rehabilitated.  I have had occasion to look at a few of these in the last several weeks, and I am happy to report that the transformation is more than skin (or rubber suit) deep.  Take for example, the cases of three widely separated service providers, each of which has identified a set of needed services that they seem to be providing quite nicely.

Arsenal Digital provides outsourced data protection and business continuity services through a network of data centers.  With Arsenal, your data remains at your own site, but the management of the data is outsourced to Arsenal’s network operations center (NOC) located in Cary, N.C.  Additionally, the infrastructure that supports backups and restores is located in one of Arsenal’s 24 U.S. and six international data centers.  The company now claims more than 800 clients worldwide.

IPR International operates out of suburban Philadelphia, from where it provides remote services for managing information lifecycle management (ILM) compliance issues.  It manages data on servers, desktop and laptop machines, focusing on ensured compliance for Exchange, Notes, DBMS and file and print servers.  Through its own personnel and working with key technology partners, it manages for compliance in the financial, healthcare, legal and pharmaceutical markets.

Zantaz provides hosted and onsite e-mail management services for indexing, archiving, electronic discovery, retrieval and supervision, and claims it can provide a completely complicate solution on your site or at Zantaz’s.  Clients set policies that govern how data is handled:  all messages are automatically scanned against those policies.  The user interface is very slick.

Three SSPs providing useful services.  I am pretty sure that none of their CEOs has been seen in public wearing a rubber monster suit, but even without that, we can still recognize them as potential sources of help for IT managers who are dealing with their own modern crop of monsters.