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FAST Primps for Storage OEMs

When Rob Lancaster, VP of channel development for Fast Search & Transfer (FAST), sat in on an ILM session at a conference a few months back, he was disheartened to hear folk talking about a lack of electronic data classification tools. "I was thinking, 'These people need a little education. We have this today.' "

Marketspeak? Maybe not. FAST's data classification and search technology, InStream, has been on the OEM market for over a year and is incorporated in EMC's CenteraSeek program, as well as in wares from at least 12 other vendors. It's embedded in software from Avamar and in an upcoming product from Archivas set for release on Monday.

To promote all this -- and in response to what Lancaster calls a "huge spike in demand" -- FAST has packaged up its OEM platform, which it plans to unveil Monday. Dubbed InStream for Data Classification, the package is geared specifically to storage system, information management, and data protection OEMs.

"There's a huge demand for functions and services that support OEMs," Lancaster says. And while storage and archiving OEMs are still a "single-digit" portion of the market, the demand for their wares is growing. Even though 60 to 70 percent of revenues (which reached $103 million last year) come from direct sales, the firm claims 40 to 50 OEMs overall.

At the same time, the storage cats have different requirements than vendors who integrate InStream with CRM and other business applications. They don't require as much fancy search intelligence as transaction-based systems, but they do call for greater scaleablity. After all, these days a data archive can be the greediest of all storage elements.

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