Ottawa system integrator turns software developer

The past year’s economic downturn has not halted the rapid growth of the storage market, according to Kanatek Technologies Inc.

Now storage is on the minds of most CIOs and large organizations, said Brian Dilks, director of solutions

for the Ottawa-based storage networking and systems integrator.

“”In the past years (storage) was kind of just there — it was peripheral. Now people are understanding that data is the lifeblood of their organizations.””

Most recently, Kanatek signed a partnership with Network Appliance Inc., and was already providing NAS (network attached storage) architectures, but only at a very high-end, using Veritas software on highly-available Sun Microsystems servers.

“”Rather than not be a complete storage networking systems integrator, it kind of is our responsibility to ensure we have solutions across the entire space,”” said Dilks. “”We don’t partner with everybody — we have a fairly limited number of partners. “”But as a storage networking integrator you have to make sure that you cover all solution bases within storage.””

Apart from high-level systems integration and consultation, Kanatek has found ways to deliver a return on investment for its clients — by moving into the software development space. “”We do the high-level consulting thing, we do the SI thing and through those activities, we recognize where gaps are in the technology space,”” said Dilks.

Although SAN (storage area network) has been “”the big buzzword”” over the last couple of years, it’s also a fairly new technology, he said. “”So instead of ignoring or just overcoming those gaps with services, we are developing software to fill in those gaps.””

After establishing its SANware Solutions software division last year, the SI released the first of its software products, SANback for Brocade, which automatically backs up and restores Brocade switch configuration settings, said Dilks.

Initially, Kanatek intended to keep the software for itself and use it for its own customers, but as time went on customers started showing interest and Dilks thought it might be wise to find a distributor for the product.

“”We’re only in certain geographies and we work within a certain customer space,”” he said. “”But the application we’ve created is basically for anybody with a Brocade-based storage area network.””

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