TeraCloud Floats Into the Open

Adds automation and NFS support to SRM tool as it continues to expand beyond mainframes

March 25, 2003

3 Min Read
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Storage resource management vendor TeraCloud Corp. is driving further into the open systems market with SpaceNet 3.0, adding new automation features in a bid to stay competitive in the cutthroat SRM segment of the market (see TeraCloud's SpaceNet 3.0 Blasts Off).

The company says SpaceNet 3.0 offers more automation of storage management and monitoring. It's designed to cater to TeraCloud's target customers, most of which are faced with managing very large and very complex enterprise storage environments of 50 Tbytes or more, according to Robert Bingham, TeraCloud's VP of marketing. "One of the major challenges for customers is complexity," he says.

In addition, TeraCloud says it offers expanded "SAN and NAS support" in this version. But what exactly does that mean, you may well ask? (We did.) The company is a sketchy on details, but it seems that the only thing new here is that the software supports Network File System (NFS), the file protocol in Unix environments. TeraCloud is not ready to announce which specific NAS products the software supports.

TeraCloud, founded in 1991, has only been playing in the open-systems SRM space for a little more than a year: It launched the first version of the SpaceNet software for Windows, Unix, and mainframe environments in December 2001. Up until then, the company specialized in providing storage management software for mainframes. Last year, it scared up $5.5 million to fund its expansion into open systems (see TeraCloud Seeded With $5.5M).

SpaceNet 3.0 uses policy-based and event-driven automation, which can help administrators eliminate what TeraCloud calls mundane and repetitive tasks. A new configurable "dashboard" allows the administrator to show the portions of the company's storage environment that he or she is most interested in seeing. This, in turn, allows companies to cut back on both the time and the money they spend managing their storage environments, Bingham says, noting that the software also provides capacity-planning statistics.TeraCloud currently has five beta customers in the U.S. testing the third version of its SRM software, Bingham says, including two financial institutions and one utility company -- but he couldn't tell us their names. For its previous products, TeraCloud has 220 paying customers, of which it claims around 180 are Fortune 1000 companies.

The urge to deal with the complexity of storage management is what's been driving the SRM market, says Michael Karp, senior analyst with Enterprise Management Associates Inc. "Storage management is extremely complicated, [and] the more heterogeneous the environment, the more complex the mix," he says. "I would suggest that [SRM] is the major area of growth in storage."

An IDC report last spring forecast that the SRM market would skyrocket from $1.8 billion in 2002 to $4.6 billion by 2006 (see SRM Tools Get Loaded and IDC Projects SRM Growth).

Obviously, the Bellevue, Wash.-based TeraCloud isn't the only company aiming to bite a chunk out of this fatting market. Other companies in this space include Computer Associates International Inc. (CA) (NYSE: CA), EMC Corp. (NYSE: EMC), Hewlett-Packard Co. (NYSE: HPQ), IBM Corp. (NYSE: IBM), and Veritas Software Corp. (Nasdaq: VRTS), in addition to a long line of startups (see SAN Management: Nice, in Theory).

But while some products out there, like IBM's Tivoli, should give TeraCloud a run for its money, according to Karp, he warns that not all the products on the market are everything they claim to be:"One thing that kind of muddies the water is that a lot of people can monitor heterogeneous environments, but not as many can manage them. You've got to overcome the smoke and mirrors that are out there... TeraCloud actually manages this stuff. [They] manipulate the storage assets. That's a real calculable value."

SpaceNet 3.0 is available now, priced at about $30,000 per managed Tbyte of storage.

Eugénie Larson, Reporter, Byte and Switch

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