IBM Signs Sneaky DataCore Deal

Plugs hole in virtualization strategy, while struggling to make its internal product work

November 20, 2001

2 Min Read
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IBM Corp. (NYSE: IBM)has patched the hole in its virtualization strategy via a reseller agreement for DataCore Software Corp.'s SANsymphony software, while it struggles to come to grips with its internal product, codenamed Storage Tank.”

“Clearly, IBM is struggling to get Storage Tank to work, and it’s using DataCore to plug the hole,” says Harsh Kumar, storage analyst at Morgan Keegan & Company Inc. "The whole strategy smacks of confusion."

DataCore announced the multiyear, worldwide reseller agreement Friday, and says it expects it to contribute “significantly” to its revenues next year (see IBM Resells DataCore). IBM spokespeople insist the announcement has no bearing on its internal virtualization strategy -- which is odd, because SANsymphony is generally considered the market leader in heterogeneous virtualization software.

”This agreement is not part of our virtualization software plan, despite what DataCore might be saying,” says an IBM storage systems spokesperson. “We are using it for disk mirroring."

Analysts say disk mirroring is a component of DataCore’s software but hardly the main reason a business would implement it.IBM has been dancing around the subject of virtualization since it launched its Shark storage array two years ago. Initially it planned to put virtualization within the disk array. Then the focus shifted to Project Storage Tank, which was to be software that allowed the sharing of data across any storage device, or operating system. This was scheduled for release the middle of this year, but has failed to materialize.

In any event, it’s a great deal for DataCore. Under the agreement, IBM’s global reseller network and its thousand-strong dedicated storage sales team, will sell DataCore’s SANsymphony IP-based disk mirroring and storage virtualization software to IBM Enterprise Storage Server (Shark) customers.

The software will enable IBM to sell Shark into EMC Corp. (NYSE: EMC)and Hitachi Data Systems (HDS) accounts, where it can virtualize storage across multivendor platforms. “This will help IBM get under the skin of its biggest competitors,” says Ken Horner, VP of marketing at DataCore.

”IBM has been testing with us for over a year,” says Horner, “they are not a risk-taking organization, and this is a big deal."

DataCore's SANsymphony software will be available for purchase from IBM or authorized IBM business partners from November 23.IBM had no comment on when Storage Tank might be available.

— Jo Maitland, Senior Editor, Byte and Switch

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