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Grab a Niche

11:30 AM -- To succeed anywhere, one must sometimes leave the beaten path. In the byways of storage networking, niche markets flourish where you least expect them. Some, like ripe mushrooms, lie hidden in the shade of larger opportunities.

What are you on about? you ask. We'll get to the point. Here are a few examples of trendy niches for storage products:

  • Geospatial Data: Next-gen NAS players are seeking out companies that use planes or satellites to snap photos of various terrains from above, for a number of reasons. Some of this work is fun, as Isilon Systems and ONStor Inc. discovered in recent wins (see GlobeXplorer and North West Geomatics Selects ONStor). Some of it is sinister, as geospatial info is used for warfare mapping as well. Trust we won't hear much from PR on those apps, but you never know.
  • Veterinary Medicine: We all know about the rise of digital data in healthcare. But hey, not all people are human! Big veterinary hospitals, healthcare providers, and even educational institutions need lots of storage. A key opportunity for NAS.
  • Email Archiving for SMBs: This is a hot niche for startups everywhere (see Outsourcers Beef Up Email Archives). And don't try to second-guess who's buying. In Canada, for instance, Halifax's IronSentry Inc., which offers agentless, real-time email archiving across North America, says it hit the wall when pitching law firms for its services. Turns out architecture and construction firms are better prospects, since they need to track accountability with building standards.
  • Apple Backup: Storage networking's fallen down when it comes to supporting gear from Apple Computer Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL) "The Mac space has been disrespected," says Eran Farajun, EVP at backup-and-restore software maker Asigra Inc., which claims to have the world's only agentless Mac backup program. Also helping fight Apple dissing is Atempo Inc. (see Atempo Supports Mac OS X Tiger).

Got any other niches you'd like to share? Write to us at [email protected].

Mary Jander, Site Editor, Byte and Switch