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Storage Networks Get Energized

Storage companies are putting a lot of energy these days into landing customers that find and sell, well, energy.

Whether its gas and oil exploration or energy utilities, storage companies are in hot pursuit. Over the last week we’ve seen NAS companies Panasas Inc. and ExaGrid Systems launch products aimed at energy companies, and software startup OuterBay Technologies Inc. forge an OEM deal that will help it sell to energy utilities. (See Panasas: Lab Rat No More, ExaGrid Launches NAS DPS, and Peace Software to Offer OuterBay ILM.)

The NAS angle is no surprise. Since energy exploration projects call for data-intensive software applications, they look to NAS vendors. This isn’t new; NAS moved into the energy vertical years ago (see NAS Goes Mainstream). But a couple of factors are energizing the pairing of NAS and energy.

First off, energy companies are increasingly moving to digitized mapping, which calls for lots of file-oriented storage. At the same time, NAS vendors are offering clustered file systems that enable their solutions to work in remote locations, while linked to central offices.

NAS and energy haven't always been an explosive match. Network Appliance Inc. (Nasdaq: NTAP) is one of the most successful storage vendors in the energy market, but getting into that market a few years back took some re-engineering (see NetApp Oils Up in Oslo and NetApp's Got Gas).

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