Mirapoint to Bundle SAN/Email Solution

Will bundle with NetApp, as market grows for email and storage combinations

December 12, 2006

3 Min Read
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The worlds of storage and email are becoming entwined as users attempt to tackle the double-whammy of email growth and compliance pressures.

Today, for instance, messaging specialist Mirapoint announced a partnership with NetApp to sell the storage vendor's SAN technology with its own Message Server device. (See Mirapoint, NetApp Integrate and Mirapoint Announces Customers.)

Mirapoint's bundle includes a Message Server device, which is essentially a mail server, and a NetApp FAS 270C or FAS 320C. Pricing for the package, which is available now, starts at around $49,000 for a Mirapoint M5000 Message Server and a NetApp FAS 270C.

According to Bethany Mayer, Mirapoint's chief marketing officer, NetApp's SAN boxes have been tweaked to cope with a massive influx of emails. "Because email comes through at a rapid rate, it's making sure that the storage device can take these emails immediately and store them," she tells Byte & Switch.

Email storage is a "different beast" to traditional document storage, explains the exec. "It's very high transaction rates and very small data bytes versus lower transaction rates and larger amounts of storage for documents."Mirapoint changed the software configuration settings on the NetApp devices to cope with slews of emails, avoiding I/O bottlenecks, according to Mayer. Because of these I/O enhancements, the two vendors are also touting the package as a speedy way for firms to access their email data as part of a disaster recovery plan.

It has taken Mirapoint a number of years to get to this point. The vendor first started working with NetApp back in September 2002, when the vendor joined NetApp's Appliance Advantage Program for developing joint solutions. (See Mirapoint Teams With NetApp.)

"We didn't take the decision to resell their product until 9 to 12 months ago," says Mayer, a move which was prompted by the growing popularity of SANs. (See IBM Tailors SANs, US Navy, HLRS, and Qualcomm.) "The SAN market began to move -- SAN devices have really grown in terms of the desire to have them," she explains.

Mayer won't rule out extending the reseller deal with NetApp. "We would be interested in adding NAS capability as well," she says, although would not disclose when this is likely to happen.

Whether the NetApp deal is enough to increase Mirapoint's footprint remains to be seen. Although Mayer says that some firms are already using the NetApp bundle, the vendor couild not provide a customer for Byte & Switch to speak to.Additionally, Mirapoint is up against some big-name competitors in the email messaging space, namely Microsoft's Exchange, IBM's Lotus Notes, and Novell's GroupWise. Other software-based players in this space include Zimbra, Scalix, and Ipswitch, although these firms are more focused on smaller businesses.

Microsoft, for its part, has also made a move in the direction of SANs. With the release of the Windows Storage Server feature pack earlier this year, Exchange Server 2003 databases can now be consolidated to Windows Storage Server devices. (See Energizing Exchange.)

"Email storage is becoming a much more important issue -- it has reached a critical stage," warns Michael Osterman, founder of Osterman Research, who says the storage space needed for emails is growing at 42 percent a year. "It's things like managing very large files and attachments."

Many end-users will save their emails anywhere they can when their firms impose mailbox quotas. "If users start moving this data to PST files, for example, it's a lot more difficult for companies to find if they are hit with a discovery order [by a law firm]," Osterman adds. (See Email Travail, Storage Goes to Law School, and On the Brink of Storage Disaster.)

James Rogers, Senior Editor, Byte and Switch

  • IBM Corp. (NYSE: IBM)

  • Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT)

  • Mirapoint Inc.

  • Morgan Stanley

  • Novell Inc. (Nasdaq: NOVL)

  • Osterman Research

  • Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC)

  • Zimbra Inc.0

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