Storage Shows Its SaaS

Led by EMC, software as a service is set to make an impact in the storage space

November 28, 2007

3 Min Read
Network Computing logo

Despite some skepticism from users, more storage vendors are throwing their weight behind software as a service (SaaS), planning managed services around archiving, security, email, and online backup.

EMC is the latest vendor to pin its colors to the SaaS mast, revealing its plan to offer SaaS-based archiving services during its recent Innovation Day in Boston.

The vendor is also working on an initiative called "Project Fortress," which appears to include some form of platform for creating and/or managing SaaS. Though specifics are scarce, a recent EMC job ad describes the initiative as a technology platform that "will define security, authentication, billing, and usage tracking across SaaS applications."

EMC gave another clear indication of its SaaS intentions last month, when it spent $76 million to acquire online backup specialist Mozy.

With former Mozy CEO Josh Coates now heading EMC's Advanced Technology Group, it seems likely that Mozy's SaaS offerings will be part of the EMC SaaS technology roster."It is interesting that the buzz around SaaS, which ebbs and flows every few years, has found its way into the storage domain with EMC as a major proponent," writes Dave Vellante, co-founder and senior storage analyst for analyst forum Wikibon, in a recent note.

It remains to be seen whether EMC will really deliver on its SaaS promise, according to the analyst. Specifically, the vendor needs to take key user concerns about the technology into account.

"Metering and cost transparency are fundamental to initiatives like SaaS," says Vellante, alluding to users' unease about SaaS pricing, which fluctuates depending on usage.

Long-term, successful end-user SaaS deployments will depend on EMC's ability to tie as many products as possible into the managed service, according to the analyst.

Vellante is not the first person to voice his unease about SaaS. Last month, for example, Matthew Glotzbach, head of products at Google's Enterprise division, warned that many CIOs and IT managers still do not fully understand the technology.Touted as a way for firms to better utilize their internal resources by accessing services like email via the Internet, SaaS has nonetheless been gaining momentum over recent months.

Other vendors adding flesh to the bones of their strategies in this area include Dell, which recently acquired privately held SaaS specialist Everdream for an undisclosed fee; and Cisco, which spent $100 million on security specialist Securent earlier this month.

Slowly but surely, storage vendors are stepping into the SaaS space. These include disaster recovery specialist SunGard, which recently unveiled a managed email archiving solution, and Seagate, which took the wraps off its EVault Unified Recovery service. Yosemite Technologies, which overhauled its own FileKeeper backup offering last month, has also revealed plans to enter the SaaS market sometime in the first half of next year.

In addition to Iron Mountain, which already has a number of SaaS offerings, EMC rival Symantec is also working on its own SaaS solution, Symantec Protection Network Online Backup Service, which will be available later this year.

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.

  • Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO)

  • Dell Inc. (Nasdaq: DELL)

  • EMC Corp. (NYSE: EMC)

  • Google (Nasdaq: GOOG)

  • IDC

  • Securent

  • Seagate Technology Inc. (NYSE: STX)

  • SunGard (NYSE: SDS)

  • Symantec Corp. (Nasdaq: SYMC)

  • Yosemite Technologies Inc.

Stay informed! Sign up to get expert advice and insight delivered direct to your inbox

You May Also Like

More Insights