Peekaboo, StoredIQ!

Behind the coy customer references, there's a market trend brewing

September 8, 2005

3 Min Read
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Unstructured data management startup StoredIQ revealed four healthcare customers today, and its CEO outlined its strategy for tackling vertical markets and OEMs. But don't ask a lot of questions.

Like others in the emerging space sometimes called data classification and management, sometimes information access management, StoredIQ wants to focus attention on itself without making its potatoes look too small. In that regard, it has lots in common with competitors Kazeon Inc., Njini Inc., and Scentric Inc., which are equally cagey.

There may be good reason for caution: Since relaunching itself last year, StoredIQ -- which has about 14 employees, $6 million in funding, and is based in Austin, Texas -- has learned the path to success in its specialized niche will be through verticals and carefully picked partnerships (see Deepfile Becomes StoredIQ). A lot depends on deals that could be stymied by a slip of the proverbial lip.

So what's StoredIQ willing to say? First, it's focused on vertical markets: "Healthcare is a start point because of its well-understood requirements... But government and financial services are pulling us... Our goal is to prove our value in a number of vertical markets," says CEO Bob Fernander. Atlantic Healthcare, Berkshire Hospitals, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona, and Medline are using StoreIQ's Information Asset Management (IAM) platform version 3.5 to organize unstructured data files and set and enforce policies about their handling in external storage gear.

As to partnerships, mum's the word, except for a previously announced agreement with SAN Holdings Inc. (OTC: SANZ). But Fernander says a kind of group OEM announcement is in the works, and he's looking to add particular value in the area of security."We have learned that security is as important or more important than policies," says Fernander. In support of customers that have data records they need to protect (like hospitals), StoredIQ has revamped its software to include management of access control lists, which determine the rights of users in Windows Active Directory, NFS, or Netware environments.

Adding value through security could help differentiate a package from StoredIQ, which typically costs $150,000, from broader content-search packages from the likes of IBM Corp. (NYSE: IBM), as well as from content-addressed storage (CAS) products from Nexsan Technologies Inc. and others, which also feature security (see IBM Unveils Searchware and Nexsan Encrypts CAS).

While StoredIQ hammers away at its strategy, competing startups are working out their differentiators. Here's a quick rundown:

  • Scentric, which remains in stealth, recently hired on Larry Cormier, formerly marketing VP of CommVault Systems Inc., as its VP of marketing and business development. He says the company has $4.5 million in funding and roughly 50 employees, but won't be making an announcement until next year.

  • Njini continues to work on "installations," according to founder and CTO Phil Tee. In an email, he says some customer announcements could be forthcoming. He also begs to differ with the view of Taneja Group analyst Brad O'Neill that startups in this space will likely be acquired by larger software players: "I believe very strongly that the impact of IAM on storage is so great that the space that Njini plays in could easily support more than one substantial, publicly quoted independent company."

A spokesman from Kazeon did not respond to requests for comment.

Mary Jander, Site Editor, Byte and Switch0

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