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Storwize Focuses On Optimization Without Compromise

As the embers of the last decade slowly faded away, Storwize - a Massachusetts-based, storage optimization company - quietly planned for the start of a new decade with new executives and a plan to leverage the leadership of its CEO, Ed Walsh. At the start of 2010, I noticed the press release stating that storage analyst and EMC-veteran Steve Kenniston had joined the company as vice president of Technology Strategy. I know Steve from past work experience with EMC and found him to be a great guy and certainly chock-full of insight about the storage industry.

I had an opportunity to spend some time with Steve recently, and he provided a solid update on where Storwize is today, what it promotes as company values, and how it views partnerships as the company looks forward. We also discussed some measurements of the company's success, and what storage vendor they find a large percentage of their storage optimization solutions deployed in front of.

Also, we had brief discussion on our views of primary storage optimization (thin provisioning, deduplication and compression). After being unsure of just where Storwize is and where they are going, it was great to get a better understanding of their positioning, customer examples and confidence in their technology as well as the storage business overall, in terms of how they view stability and continued growth within the storage segment of IT. Storwize has assembled over 100 customers as of today, and Steve states that the company has "100's of appliances now in the field."  In fact, NETAP represents over 70 percent of the primary storage base which Storwize appliances sit in front of for dedup and compression.  

The Storwize appliance consists of its Random Access Compression Engine (R.A.C.E.) running on an IBM 3650 quad core Intel Nehalem processing environment and driving a unified protocol manager supporting CIFS and NFS today. (See Figure 1 for an example of where Storwize appliances fit within a Network Attached Storage (NAS) infrastructure.) While Steve had "no comment" on whether more connectivity options and protocols will be supported in the future, it seems pretty much a given that Storwize will expand connectivity protocol later this year and in 2011.


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