Storability Mops Up ProvisionSoft

Pries software assets from SRM startup's cold, stiff fingers. Will it give Storability a boost?

July 22, 2003

3 Min Read
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Storability Inc. said today that it has swallowed the storage resource management (SRM) software assets of defunct startup ProvisionSoft, which shut its doors in April, for an undisclosed sum (see Storability Buys ProvisionSoft IP).

Southborough, Mass.-based Storability says it has bought all the intellectual property and "intangible assets" connected with ProvisionSofts DynamicIT software product. Ill-fated ProvisionSoft launched its SRM tool last summer but reportedly managed to find just one customer for the product. Its parent company, CMGI, finally shut it down earlier this year after failing to find a buyer (see Live and Let Die, ProvisionSoft at Half-Staff, and Startup Puts SANs on Cruise Control).

Although Storability won’t reveal how much it paid for ProvisionSoft’s technology, the company insists that the terms of the deal were very favorable. “We were satisfied with the value that we got for what we paid,” says Asim Zaheer, Storability's VP of marketing.

The ProvisionSoft software, which provides automated, policy-based SAN and server management, will allow Storability to enhance its existing storage resource management offering, according to Zaheer.

“We think it complements what we’re doing pretty nicely,” he says, pointing out that the new product provides the advanced workflow and provisioning capabilities that Storability’s products lack. “We were going to develop this capability ourselves, but this speeds our time to market.”Supposedly, ProvisionSoft’s software is able to automatically determine the need for storage and server resources and then provision the resources accordingly. The technology also simplifies the task of establishing service-level objectives, and monitoring that the service levels are met.

Storability, which has been looking for a way to add more workflow and provisioning functions to its offering for the past six months, didn’t consider any other companies’ assets, Zaheer says. The company did, however, evaluate buying ProvisionSoft’s physical assets, but settled for only the intellectual property rights. In addition, Storability hired two former ProvisionSoft engineers who lost their jobs in the company purge several months ago.

Industry analysts seem to think the acquisition is a good idea. “I loved the move,” gushes Enterprise Storage Group Inc. founder Steve Duplessie in an email. “I can't believe no one else bid more, quite frankly. We always liked the ProvisionSoft story.”

In addition to putting Storability in a better position in the SRM arena, the newly acquired software should eventually allow the company to go after share further up the stack as well, Duplessie says. “I probably most like the fact that it's a server provisioning tool as well,” he writes, but adds, “I doubt Storability will use that feature up front.”

If the company decides to dive into the server provisioning space, it will have to go up against such bigwigs as Computer Associates International Inc. (CA) (NYSE: CA), EMC Corp. (NYSE: EMC), and Veritas Software Corp. (Nasdaq: VRTS)."This gives us strength in areas where we have been weak,” Zaheer says. “It positions us very nicely moving forward... We’ve already beaten those players in a number of accounts.”

Zaheer says Storability plans to first rebrand the software, and then integrate it with its existing Global Storage Manager (GSM) product by the end of the year. A single implementation of the integrated product will probably be priced between $60,000 and $75,000, he says, while Storability will charge incrementally for the number of agents a customer wants to deploy.

Storability's deal for the remains of ProvisionSoft continues the steady consolidation in the SRM space. For example, earlier this month EMC gobbled up BMC Software Inc.’s (NYSE: BMC) discarded storage software unit, and prior to that EMC bought SRM startup Astrum Software (see EMC Chews & Swallows BMC Unit and EMC Sucks Up Astrum).

— Eugénie Larson, Senior Editor, Byte and Switch

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