StorageNetworks Finds New Opportunity In Its Software


StorageNetworks, once the pioneer of selling storage as a utility, on Tuesday signaled its move to become an enterprise storage software player.

The Waltham, Mass.-based company is taking the proprietary software it developed as a service provider and is selling it to companies starving for storage management software. This means StorageNetworks is looking to compete with the likes of Veritas Software, Computer Associates, EMC, Hitachi Data Systems and IBM--all of which have come forth with their software strategy.

"Every customer I call on is wrestling with the same thing--chaos and complexity," says Peter Bell, CEO and chairman of StorageNetworks. "I don't believe chaos and complexity has a place in any business."

StorageNetworks is branding their software as the STORos Version 5.0 platform and STORos StorageManager Vesion 5.0. Both are in beta testing and are scheduled for general availability in about three weeks.

Executives describe the STORos as the transparent operating system that holds all the APIs for various hardware and software pieces that StorageNetworks gathered when its primary businsess model was as a service provider. StorageManager sits on top of the operating system and delivers an abundance of features such as asset and configuration management, policy management forecasting, capacity management, backup monitoring, provisioning, charge-back and configuration testing.

"The reason we are able to do this is because of our interoperability expertise," Bells says. "We will continue to develop products."

StorageNetworks' initial business model was to manage multiple hardware and software environments for both brick-and-mortar companies and fledgling dot-coms looking to outsource their IT systems and administration.

Executives say they still have 250 customers who contract StorageNetworks to remotely manage their services or software. But now more customers want to buy the software they developed in-house.

"Customers are saying, 'I want the tool,'" says Jeff Keohane, executive vice president of business operations at StorageNetworks.

The company also intends to develop channel sales. They recently hired Bob Simmons as vice president of channel sales.