CA Partners Could Be Stymied By StoreAge Cert Requirement

In its haste to offer a tool that can unify the infrastructure of its information life-cycle management and storage management products, CA executives said the company is putting the availability of StoreAge Virtualization Manager (SVM) on a fast track, a move that will leave some partners out of the loop for several months.

Earlier this month, CA, Islandia, N.Y., and StoreAge, Irvine, Calif., inked a deal that licenses CA to resell SVM, an appliance that can represent and manage mixed-vendor SAN arrays as a single volume of data, said Eric Pitcher, vice president of product management for CA&'s BrightStor product line. Coupled with elements of CA&'s BrightStor storage management portfolio, SVM can speed data backup and improve the efficiency of performing tiered storage management, Pitcher said.

Targeted at enterprise accounts, CA plans to sell SVM through its direct sales force, whose reps are incented to enlist CA&'s top-tier Enterprise Solution Provider (ESP) partners for product fulfillment, he said.

ESP partners that do not currently sell SVM will have to wait for CA to create and deliver an SVM certification to them—and then get certified—before they can sell the product, a process which could take several months, said Mark Newberry, vice president of product marketing for CA&'s BrightStor line.

Sponsored post

In the interim, CA&'s direct sales force will bring in existing StoreAge partners when their SVM deals require the participation of a solution provider, Newberry said. Given that a minority of CA&'s ESP partners are currently StoreAge-certified, it is likely that CA&'s direct sales force will be bringing non-CA partners into deals, he said.

This means CA&'s direct sales force will have to be diplomatic in avoiding any conflict between ESPs and a visiting StoreAge VAR, Newberry said.

Rob Piwowarczyk, president of Enterprise Systems, a solution provider in Golden, Colo., who already resells both CA products and SVM, applauded the deal. “This is a win-win for both CA and StoreAge,” he said.

But ESP partners not already certified to resell SVM were more critical of the need for virtualization.

“When a customer asks me about virtualization, I ask them for their definition of it, because there are [about] 35 definitions, and everyone has their own twist,” said Dan Borland, a storage solution architect at Core BTS (Business Technology Solution), a CA ESP partner in Indianapolis.

An ESP partner in the Northeastern United States, who requested anonymity, agreed that a big problem with storage virtualization is interoperability between the virtualization software and the hardware arrays. If an array is not certified to run with SVM, the combination could affect hardware warranties, the partner said. “You are trumping any file format [with virtualization]. And you could be in a support world of hurt,” the partner said.

Piwowarczyk said using an appliance to keep virtualization at the fabric layer and off the application level prevents interoperability problems.

Virtualization, which has been an industry buzzword for about a decade already, may have lost some of its appeal now that Fibre Channel SANs have become less expensive, said Patrick Cronin, principal at Kovarus, an ESP partner in Emeryville, Calif.

Virtualization made sense back when Fibre Channel SANs were much more expensive, he said. But now that prices have come down, it makes more sense to add new, separately managed storage arrays than to face the complexity of pooling terabytes of storage into a less secure, virtual cloud, he said.

The StoreAge solutions will be sold by CA as stand-alone products and in managed capacity pricing SKUs. A typical StoreAge deployment across 5 Tbytes of storage will cost about $60,000, Pitcher said.