Storage solutions no longer just enterprise play

Toronto – The main message resellers took away from this year’s Storage Area Networking Summit was how to address the challenge of managing vast amounts of information on a restricted budget.

With network computing continuing to drive enormous volumes of information into infrastructures and

limited resources, companies are facing increasing pressure to enhance the efficiency of their storage operations in coming years, according to the conference’s Web site.

The SAN/NAS Summit, which stopped in Toronto earlier this week, is a series of one-day conferences to educate resellers and end users about relevant and valuable SAN information. Attendees sat in on tutorials to gain insight into storage topics including storage virtualization, ISCSI and server consolidation.

Tech Data Canada hosted a reseller forum at the conference featuring a presentation from Computer Associates International Inc.

Ray Gonsalves, director of product marketing at Tech Data Canada, said compared to a few years ago, storage products and services are now targeted towards the mid-market segment. A big part of that is thanks to better software to manage the information.

“”The complexity in terms of management has been worked out from a few years ago when the enterprise was first implementing it.””

Gonsalves said resellers are changing their sales approach. “”Resellers used to sell servers and storage as an add-on.”” The focus now is on solutions targeted to the mid-market, he said.

CA gave examples of that in a 15 minute presentation on managing enterprise storage, in particular BrightStor SAN and NAS solutions. CA recently split its 1,200 products into six brands of products including BrightStor in the storage category.

CA told resellers about its SAN Designer, which allows users to design SAN environments quickly and easily. It also mentioned SAN Manager, which helps users to simplify deployment and ongoing management of their SAN infrastructure.

In terms of resource management, CA said SAN Manager enables resellers to help customers identify what information they are using.

“”I can tell you that you have one terabyte of information that you haven’t been using in the past three years,”” said Mike Bujara of CA Canada, who gave the presentation. “”I just saved you the purchase of a new disk array.””

CA also spoke briefly about ARCserve Backup R11, which launched two months ago. Some of the key features include simplified and easier installation, streamlined licensing registration and packaging and multiple NIC support. Two customers using the technology are Patrick Air Force Base and Rockford Corp., both based in the U.S.

Bujara said, “”the future of storage management is automated.”” Currently, CA is in Beta testing of its next release of BrightStor Process Automation Manager. More information will be released at its upcoming conference, CAWorld, later this month in Las Vegas.

Quiettouch Inc., which calls itself “”vendor-neutral”” when it comes to storage, was one of the resellers attending the conference and Tech Data’s reception. Dan Orchard, company client coordinator, said information life cycle management seems to be the key message coming from this year’s conference.

Orchard referred to Moore’s Law, which is named after Intel co-founder Gordon Moore, to explain life cycle management. In 1965 Moore observed that the number of transistors per square inch on integrated circuits had doubled every year since the integrated circuit was invented. The current definition of Moore’s Law is that data density doubles approximately every 18 months.

“”Storage has much faster turn cycles,”” said Orchard. “”It doubles every 12 months.””

Another reseller, Primus, which sells Veritas storage solutions, said its looking for opportunities to sell storage to the small and medium business market.

Pezhman Sharifi, senior product manager of hosting for Primus Telecommunications Canada Inc., said a large part of the revenue from storage sales comes from services that are billed monthly including managed services, fault management and network vulnerability management.

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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