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How successful will storage vendors be out of their comfort zones?

Oct 30, 20033 mins
Data Center

* Storage vendors leap into applications management territory

Editor’s Note: Audrey Rasmussen brings you the latest in storage news this week while Mike Karp is traveling.

It seems that finally, storage is converging with the other disciplines of IT. It has been EMA’s mantra for quite a while that storage has to be treated as an integral part of IT management, rather than as a silo off on its own. Business continuity, disaster recovery, application availability, data management, and information lifecycle management simply can’t be accomplished in a vacuum.

The interesting thing in this space is that the movement for convergence is coming from both sides of the aisle. Although the traditional system management vendors have been making some progress to this end, the storage vendors seem to be making the biggest moves so far. At least from an acquisition perspective.

It started with Veritas’ acquisition of Precise, which brought application performance management capabilities into its portfolio. Veritas also added the purchase of automated server provisioning software start-up Jareva to the mix. Precise has been “brought into the fold” at Veritas, in a two month period, and recently made its first product release since sporting the Veritas logo. Veritas InDepth for SQL Server adds application performance management for SQL to Veritas’ i3 product line.

Most recently, EMC’s recent acquisitions of Legato and Documentum lead it furthur down the path of information lifecycle management. The Documentum acquisition adds content management capabilities to EMC’s existing storage portfolio.

This trend will probably continue as storage vendors see the value of managing data from the point of where it is created – the applications. And that’s just one aspect of storage’s potential reach. Provisioning of server resources is a natural extension of provisioning storage resources, as evidenced by Veritas’ interest in Jareva.

So what’s driving this acquisition activity? One of the drivers is the vision of reaching the holy grails of utility computing, IT automation, and the real-time enterprise. Another driver is business expansion – finding compatible lines of business that can fuel the storage vendors’ growth. Yet another driver is regulation of data, such as the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act. And yet another is storage product/solution differentiation.  

However, the question of the day is, can storage vendors make the leap to application management and other management disciplines with ease? The answer to this question is still in a work in progress – time will tell us how successful they are at making this jump. Will they still cling to a storage-centric view of the world? Or will they take an enlightened approach and embrace the full value that their acquisitions bring to their company – taking them a bit outside of their comfort zones. This is a question worth revisiting once these acquisitions have had a chance to settle in. If these storage vendors are successful at bridging the gap, it will bring a different dynamic to competition with the other management vendors. It could set up an interesting competitive landscape.

Users should be the winners as storage vendors put together more comprehensive data/information management solutions. Again, this is something worth watching.