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MSI Courts the Enterprise

The CEO of ManagedStorage International Inc. (MSI) says the storage service provider (SSP) model is alive and well and set to thrive in 2004. But he says enterprise customers, not just service provider resellers, will be key to collecting big bucks.

Starting in January, MSI plans to expand and formalize a suite of services it's been offering to large business customers for the last few months. Specifically, the company will aggressively peddle its ability to monitor and manage storage networks, regardless of whether MSI helped put in the storage equipment or not.

"We have well over a dozen clients already using the services," says Tom Sweeney, CEO of MSI. "We will monitor the storage assets you already have in the data center as an enterprise client, all of the assets and subassets." Tape libraries and servers, as well as SAN and NAS networking gear, will be tracked in order to provide alerts and measure performance against specific service-level agreement (SLA) parameters.

Sweeney says the tack should result in enterprise revenues outstripping sales to service providers by the end of the first quarter of 2004.

That's a change of emphasis for MSI, which used to rely on service providers to resell private-label versions of its offerings, mainly remote backup. In the middle of 2003, however, MSI sought to broaden its distribution channels by acquiring a fleet of enterprise customers from StorageNetworks, which exited the SSP business in June (see StorageNetworks Ditches Services Biz and Top Ten Private Companies: Summer 2003).

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