SaaS Wave Breaks Big

But who exactly is buying these services?

January 30, 2008

2 Min Read
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A subtle, but significant, shift is underway in the storage industry, with more and more vendors turning to the software-as-a-service (SaaS) model, although there is a still a big question mark about who will actually use these products.

EMC is the latest big-name vendor to start banging this drum, unveiling its first SaaS offering last week, and singing the praises of the technology during its earnings call today.

"[SaaS] is a new market for us that will come in and add growth," explained Joe Tucci, the EMC CEO, this morning, putting SaaS in the same category as the burgeoning SMB and Web 2.0 markets.

EMC's SaaS focus, at least initially, is on online backup service and will be aimed at enterprise users looking to protect data held on desktops, laptops, and remote Windows Servers.

Symantec, which unveiled its Protection Network product last year, is also playing in this space. Like EMC, Symantec is also pushing online backup, although its product, now in beta, is targeted specifically at SMBs.Services specialist Iron Mountain beat both Symantec and EMC to the punch with its own SaaS offerings, which include an online backup partnership with SaskTel and a service for protecting SaaS applications.

CommVault is also ramping up its efforts in the SaaS arena, unveiling its Remote Operations Management Service (ROMS) yesterday. The Web-based automation service is geared toward firms that want to monitor their systems overnight, on weekends, and during holidays.

Elsewhere, backup software specialist Zmanda has tied its software to Amazon's S3 service as part of a disaster recovery offering.

Clearly, SaaS is the wave of the future, but try telling that to the average CIO or IT manager. In a recent Byte and Switch poll, only 28 percent of respondents said they were currently using the technology.

Of the reasons cited against using SaaS, concerns about security and loss of control topped the list, followed by pricing issues. Even Google, which is said to be exploring a number of online storage services, has acknowledged users' SaaS concerns.In this vein, it will be interesting to see how well CommVault's kind of SaaS will do against services that require an actual handoff of data in some form.

Bottom line? Vendors are cranking up the hyperbole around SaaS, but users will want to see more than just PowerPoints and marketing spiel before they shift to a completely new way of storing or backing up data.

Have a comment on this story? Please click "Discuss" below. If you'd like to contact Byte and Switch's editors directly, send us a message.

  • CommVault Systems Inc.

  • EMC Corp. (NYSE: EMC)

  • Google (Nasdaq: GOOG)

  • Iron Mountain Inc. (NYSE: IRM)

  • SaskTel

  • Symantec Corp. (Nasdaq: SYMC)

  • Zmanda Inc.

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