Thomas J. Sweeney III, of ManagedStorage International Inc. (MSI), is a veteran of market transitions. He became CEO and president in March 2001, amid the worst economic slump in IT history. Having weathered that storm, he's steering his company through yet another migration.
Sweeney and team are aiming ManagedStorage toward the enterprise, where they see increased motivation among companies to outsource specific storage networking tasks and functions. MSI just expanded its Enterprise Storage Solutions Division, hiring Tracy Hawkey, formerly of EMC Corp. (NYSE: EMC), to head it up (see MSI Courts the Enterprise).
Not that Sweeney's giving up on the storage service provider (SSP) concept that ManagedStorage began with. Indeed, ManagedStorage remains one of the few companies to survive the recent economic crunch without abandoning the model. While a slew of firms fled the business as carrier spending tanked in early 2002 (see SSPs: RIP), MSI continued to see sizeable opportunity in selling outsourced storage through carriers (see Top Ten Private Companies: Summer 2003, page 8).
Still, Sweeney acknowledges the last two years haven't been easy. Many carriers aren't getting off the dime. "There are still a number of service providers who don't offer a fairly robust set of storage services," he says. While these providers take their time building their storage rosters, MSI is reaching out directly to enterprise customers.
It's a delicate balance. MSI wants to preserve a high-end menu of services that encompass SAN management, while at the same time offering service providers attractive resale options.