Sanrise Wakes Up

Finally drops SSP model, switches to selling software -- like all the other SSPs before it

November 2, 2001

2 Min Read
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Sanrise Inc. was one of the first storage service providers (SSPs) to benefit from the gold rush of venture capital funding and one of the last to abandon what is increasingly being seen as a broken business model (see Sanrise Ships Its Wares).

This week it quietly announced that it will segue to selling software, instead of renting out storage on a piecemeal basis over a network.

Of all the SSPs to raise funding (at one time nearly 20 of them), Sanrise attracted the most attention and the most money, raising over $200 million.

Almost all of these companies have now refocused their business models in the face of the staggering costs required to set up and maintain worldwide networks of expensive storage systems.

Brutal layoffs and restructuring across this sector took place all summer, prompting these companies to target new markets. Sanrise was no exception (see What's Up With Sanrise?), although it has not been the fastest to react to the change (Creekpath Systems Inc. and StorageNetworks Inc. [Nasdaq: STOR] began selling software back in July -- see SSPs Switch to Selling Software).Still, the company is hopeful. "The pie is large enough for all of us to compete, says Doug Murray, VP of marketing at Sanrise.

Not everyone is so sure. "If I was running Sanrise, and someone was stupid enough to give me $200 million, I'd buy a ticket to Ecuador and never come back," says an analyst, who declined to be named.

Sanrise has been shipping its Data Manager Software Suite (DMSS) for six months, but the latest version (4.0) is the first standalone product from Sanrise that supports multivendor storage devices. Previous versions only supported Hitachi Data Systems (HDS), a major investor in Sanrise. It now supports EMC Corp. (NYSE: EMC); and release 4.1, expected by year's end, will support IBM Corp. (NYSE: IBM), it says.

The idea behind these software platforms is that storage administrators no longer need to be proficient in several different vendor-specific management products and instead can deploy just one to manage all their storage bits and bobs. This sounds great in theory, but in the real world there are no benchmark tests or customer case studies yet that demonstrate how deep and broad this management capability goes.

— Jo Maitland, Senior Editor, Byte and Switch

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