Tivoli Storage VP: Speed Up Standards!

Laura Sanders, head of Tivoli's storage software unit, says the industry is lagging on standards

June 26, 2003

2 Min Read
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The head of IBM Tivoli's storage management software group, Laura Sanders, has been on the job for less than a year. But she quickly clued in that the storage world is woefully behind the times in one particular area: Today, there aren't viable standards for managing multivendor storage environments.

"That's what amazes me about the storage industry this software works only with that API, you need this software to talk to that switch," she says. "The customers are going to have to say, 'This standards process isn't happening fast enough.' "

Sanders, singing straight from the IBM songbook [ed. note: we wouldn't be surprised if one actually exists], believes standards are vital to the industry. Moreover, she believes that by aggressively driving support for the Storage Networking Industry Association (SNIA) standards, Tivoli and IBM's storage hardware group will gain an edge against key competitors, most notably EMC Corp. (NYSE: EMC).

"You have to build [software] in an open way – and I think that's going to hurt some folks who are talking one way and delivering in another," she says, referring not-very-elliptically to EMC.

Tivoli will need to use all the advantages at its disposal if it wants to increase its share in this highly competitive segment. In 2002, IBM Tivoli held 13 percent share of the overall storage software market by revenue, trailing EMC (25 percent) and Veritas Software Corp. (Nasdaq: VRTS) (19 percent), according to Gartner Inc.Sanders says she's ready for the challenge, though she notes that she views her business unit in the context of Tivoli's overall systems management software business. Sanders has been with IBM for 19 years – yep, she's a Big Blue lifer. Previously, she was in charge of integrating IBM's acquisition of database vendor Informix, which it bought in 2001.

She started her IBM career in Boca Raton, Fla., as an engineer and then software developer, holding various management positions, mostly in the software group but also in finance. She received a bachelor of science degree in mechanical engineering and a master's of business administration in finance from Tulane University.

Sanders spoke with US Editor Todd Spangler about beating EMC and Veritas; why the storage resource management (SRM) market hasn't met expectations; the looming shakeout among storage software startups; and, briefly, about her dogs named after classical composers.

To read the full interview, click on the links below:

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