RagingWire Does DR With 3PAR

Service provider puts in 3PAR's storage and copy software to offer rapid data recovery

February 14, 2003

4 Min Read
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Managed service provider RagingWire Telecommunications Inc., is gearing up to install 3PARdata Inc.'s rapid database recovery software on the storage system it acquired from the startup last year.

The idea, RagingWire says, is to remove most of the burden of disaster-recovery planning from its customers, enabling them to get on with running their businesses.

The two-year-old managed service provider (MSP) offers managed data replication, backup and recovery, and virtual private networking (VPN) services to businesses in the Sacramento, Calif., area. Its customers include BlackRock Inc., a division of the PNC Financial Services Group; Photronics Inc.; Hitachi Data Systems (HDS); and Flextronics Corp. (Nasdaq: FLEX), which outsourced its entire ERP supply chain management and back-office systems to RagingWire. The MSP says it has 20 clients and that 80 percent of its overall revenue comes from Fortune 1000 companies that have multiyear, multimillion-dollar contracts with the firm.

It's a business model few people have the nerve to defend these days after so many MSPs, storage service providers (SSPs), and application service providers (ASPs) have gone bankrupt. Not RagingWire: It claims to have found a way to make money at this game.

The prevailing wisdom says the trouble with the outsourcing model is that a service provider can't effectively leverage its resources across multiple customers. According to this school of thought, an xSP must create prepackaged solutions that don't meet the needs of most prospective customers -- which is the reason so many of them failed.RagingWire says it's all a matter of being flexible. Yatish Mishra, president and CTO of RagingWire, says in terms of the storage services the company offers, he needs to be able to provision as little or as much capacity as his customers need, as soon as they need it. "Our small customers can take as little as a terabyte each on the 3PAR system," he says.

He notes that HDS and EMC Corp. (NYSE: EMC) also provide multitenancy capabilities -- that is, the ability to house multiple customers' data within the same storage array -- but Mishra says the 3PAR box requires fewer commands to configure and costs significantly less. "They have removed the complexity involved in doing this," he says.

RagingWire has just begun testing 3PAR's Virtual Copy DBA software, which provides a point-in-time copy, or snapshot, of a file without doubling the disk space. "We are not using up as much disk, which means rapid recovery at a much lower cost," Mishra says.

3PAR's Virtual Copy DBA, which has so far only been qualified with Oracle Corp. (Nasdaq: ORCL) databases, carries a starting list price of $49,000. Mishra points out that when you spread this cost out over a number of customers, it becomes much more attractive.

RagingWire manages about 50 TBytes of data at its collocation facility in Sacramento, but this is growing rapidly, it claims. Right now, all of its customers' data resides on an EMC Symmetrix, a Hitachi Lightning 9960, and two clustered Network Appliance Inc. (Nasdaq: NTAP) 840 filers.In the next few months, the MSP plans to introduce services based on the 3PAR box for customers that are looking for a lower price point but still want performance. "There will be plenty that want to stick with the standard EMC offering, but this broadens our appeal," Mishra says.

Is he concerned about the stability and support he might get buying this kind of high-end technology from a startup? "3PAR has a solid management team, and it's backed by large businesses," says Mishra. Investors in 3PAR include Oracle, Veritas Software Corp. (Nasdaq: VRTS), and Sun Microsystems Inc. (Nasdaq: SUNW).

He adds that 3PAR is "in a difficult market sector, given the economy, but if you look at EMC's numbers, this market is growing... We only need to look at our customers' storage needs, which are growing about 50 percent annually."

There looks to be a market out there for 3PAR-like systems, albeit one that's a high-end niche. Can 3PAR find enough RagingWires to sustain its business? We'll see (see 3PAR Drives Hard and 3PAR OK'd for Veritas on Oracle9i

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