OuterBay: The Data Police?

Touting 'full automation' with software that controls application data. Are companies ready?

June 14, 2003

4 Min Read
Network Computing logo

Forget plain old storage resource management. If you really want to save money, youve got to manage data at the application level, according to OuterBay Technologies Inc., which is announcing a new version of its ADM software next week. [Ed. note: Huh. And here I thought they only made wool sweaters and anoraks.]

The Campbell, Calif.-based company claims its new Application Data Management (ADM) software version 3.0 can save customers millions by identifying the inactive data in their applications and moving it to low-cost storage, like ATA disks. The software, which offers 40 new features, is designed to ensure that users can continue to access the information as easily and transparently as before it was moved.

“People are paying a lot of money for data that’s not useful,” says company chairman and CEO Michael Howard, insisting that the new software will greatly reduce those costs (see OuterBay Nabs Ex-Veritas Exec). “Because of regulatory issues, they still need to have access to that data… Now, when data is moved, it’s still accessible.”

This so-called data lifecycle approach allows companies to put the right data on the right storage device or server, based on the value of the data, Howard says.

The approach is fairly unique, with only one other company, Princeton Softech Inc. really playing in this space, observers say.In addition to moving inactive data, the software monitors and identifies which specific applications are creating data growth, and forecasts and models how the data will grow in the future. This is perhaps the most compelling feature, according to AMR Research analyst Dennis Gaughan. “Understanding what each application is doing is really important,” he says. “This allows for a view from the top down in support of IT.”

While previous versions of the company’s software could only analyze Oracle Corp. (Nasdaq: ORCL), PeopleSoft Inc. (Nasdaq: PSFT) and SQL Server databases and applications, the new version can also scan and manage data residing on DB2, Informix, and Sybase Inc. databases. In addition, the software’s new Developer’s Edition component, which is based on technology acquired from BitByBit last October, enables support for customized applications and databases, OuterBay says (see OuterBay Gulps Down UK Boutique).

It takes about two to three days to get the software up and running, according to Howard. Once IT administrators have set the policies for when inactive data should be moved, however, the management of the software is completely automated, he says: “It’s lights out -- it’s all policy driven.”

While some companies will surely see this automation as a great time- and cost-saving measure, others are bound to be leery, Greenwich Technology Partners analyst Ron Lovell warns. “A lot of people are going to feel uncomfortable about having something automated do this,” he says. “New technology always takes some time.” In the long run, however, he thinks this will catch on. “This is a huge piece of optimizing the storage environment.”

Howard, meanwhile, waves aside any fears that the automation might send business-critical data astray. “There are certain base-line rules in the system that disallow it from moving open data,” he says. “That’s guaranteed.”In fact, Howard is so certain that OuterBay has chosen the right approach that he’s preparing to double the company’s sales staff over the next few months, and is getting ready to expand into new markets like email. Without this expansion, he says, the company would have been able to break even as early as this year. Now, however, he says he expect to get there some time next year.

“We have a tremendous amount of money,” he crows. “We had a 300 percent increase in revenue generation from Q4 2001 to Q4 2002.”

OuterBay, which was founded in 1997, has received $19 million in funding to date from Redpoint Ventures, BA Venture Partners, and Leapfrog Ventures (see OuterBay Gets Additional $9M).

The company currently employs about 70 people and claims to have more than 150 customers for the previous versions of its software, including Honeywell International Inc. (NYSE: HON), Sony Manufacturing UK, Posco, Applied Materials Inc. (Nasdaq: AMAT), Motorola Inc. (NYSE: MOT), Sun Microsystems Inc. (Nasdaq: SUNW), and Waterpik Technologies

— Eugénie Larson, Reporter, Byte and Switch

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

You May Also Like

More Insights