BMC To Abandon Distributed Storage Management Market

The company, based here, this week confirmed it will discontinue further development of its Patrol Storage Manager. Its latest version was released in January.

The decision was made as a result of recent internal meetings exploring plans for the upcoming fiscal year, which starts April 1, said Dan Hoffmann, director of enterprise storage management for the company.

BMC judged that the distributed storage market is one that does not warrant further investment, Hoffmann said. "The distributed storage market is highly fragmented," he said. "Many players in this market are not making money."

The decision to end development of Patrol Storage Manager does not mean an exit from storage management for BMC. The company will continue to offer its Mainview Storage Resource Management, a stand-alone application for managing storage on mainframes, Hoffmann said.

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BMC will also continue to develop storage-related Knowledge Modules for its enterprise management applications, he said.

One of the key functions of Patrol Storage Manager is storage resource management, which allows discovery and monitoring of storage devices within a network, BMC said.

The market for this kind of software is too competitive, with most of the major storage management players either already offering or recently acquiring similar products, Hoffmann said. "It's hard for the small guys to make money in this space," he said. "I doubt even the big guys make profits in this business."

Exiting the storage resource management space should have little affect on BMC's core business, which is managing the entire network infrastructure of an enterprise, as the company still has the technology within its management scheme to handle the storage as needed, Hoffmann said.

"BMC's distinguishing characteristic is application-centric storage management," he said. "We focus on the mapping or correlation of business processes to storage assets, both hardware and non-hardware. Customers want more than just point storage management. They want management across the entire business process."

The storage resource management market is still an early one, and vendors have a lot of work to do before their products really catch on, said Don McNaughton, sales manager at HorizonTek, a solution provider in Huntington, N.Y.

"They have to work to make their software work with all the devices out there," McNaughton said. "And they have to adjust pricing. They are charging $20,000 to $25,000 per terabyte of data. It's tough to convince someone to spend that much money even before they purchase any storage."

Even so, McNaughton said he is surprised anyone would exit the market at this time. "I would think more people would adjust pricing and not jump out at this time," he said. "It will be a hot topic this year."

The competition was quick to criticize BMC's exit from the market. Marco Coulter, vice president of storage strategy at Computer Associates International, said he is not surprised by BMC's move.

Like BMC, CA also has a network management framework in its UniCenter offering, Coulter said. "BMC's move is a misread of the market," he said. "Customers are looking for specific storage needs, not just something that is a part of an overall management scheme."