2009 Channel Contenders: External Storage3:00 PM EST Fri. Jul. 24, 2009
Iomega, SanDisk and Quantum are three alternatives to Western Digital and Seagate/Maxtor in the external storage device world, but there's a host of other companies vying for market share as well, according to the 2009 Channel Contenders study, which sought to identify the top vendors that solution providers choose as alternatives to market leaders. Here's a look at 10 contenders in external storage.
When Iomega was acquired by storage behemoth EMC in April 2008, the company's popular SMB/SOHO storage hardware was combined with EMC's also recently acquired Mozy online storage technology to help reinvent EMC as a channel-friendly option for small business storage. Specific to portable hard drives, Iomega recently unveiled its Iomega eGo Portable Hard Drive for Mac users, not long after updating the eGo line overall with new look, ruggedized USB 2.0-powered models.
For SanDisk, the news in external storage always seems to be about smaller, faster, better or some combination of those qualities. One of SanDisk's big splash products this spring was the SanDisk Ultra Backup, which, according to the company, is the world's first USB flash drive with push-button backup. In late June, SanDisk introduced the Extreme SDHC card, which it says is the fastest 32-GB SDHC card on the market today.
Data protection has long been Quantum's game, and this year's Channel Contenders study showed that solution providers are still relying on its GoVault Data Protection Solution and other backup and disaster recovery offerings, especially for SMB customers. With data deduplication a core piece of Quantum's business, it's likely the company watched EMC's and NetApp's bidding war for Data Domain, eventually won by EMC, with great interest.
LaCie most recently launched a pair of network-attached storage tools in its Big Network line, boosting performance, adding backup support options and bulking up capacity to a whopping 10 TB, but the company also offers a range of rugged mobile drives up to 500 GB and multimedia high-definition media players up to 1 TB.
Plextor opened its U.S. operations in 1990 and since then the Japanese-based company has made its mark selling CD, DVD and now Blu-ray drives, including its PlexTower series of DVD duplicators that can burn up to seven DVDs in less than seven minutes.
Buffalo continues to add to its two main families of external hard drives: DriveStation, which is available in single and multiple drive configurations, and MiniStation, a compact USB 2.0 hard drive family Buffalo targets to notebook users needing portable storage and backup.
Buffalo also had a strong showing in CRN's 2009 Channel Champs survey, especially in financial factors criteria for its SMB external storage offerings. Compared to other vendors -- including category leader Western Digital -- Buffalo's SMB external storage portfolio was seen to offer some of the category's "best bang for the buck."
Among Imation's latest products is the Apollo Pro WX, an external hard drive that boasts wireless USB capabilities. Compatible with PC or Mac computers, the 3.5-inch drive features built-in sleep mode, a one-touch backup sync button and capacities ranging from 250 GB to 1.5 TB.
IOGear has a wide variety of mobile card readers, and its Portable Media Server Players can hold up to 34,000 photos, or nine hours of digital video, according to the company. IOGear's 720p HD upscaling capability allows users to play standard definition content at up to 720p HD resolution on an HDTV.
Hitachi GST this past February continued to muscle its way into the external storage device space with its acquisition of Fabrik, a storage solutions company whose best known brands include G-Technology and SimpleTech. Hitachi executives said at the time they would make Fabrik's products the center of its expanding external storage business, confirming external storage continues to be a growth market for the Japanese company.
Micro Solutions is on the list for its external USB/eSATA drives ranging from 250 GB to 1 TB and desktop NAS devices such as the 3004-NAS, a desktop four-bay, hot-swappable, Linux-embedded all-in-one NAS server that supports multiple file-sharing protocols for users to share files across Linux, Unix, Mac and Windows platforms, and server functions including file server, FTP server and printer server.