Storage Players Play for Utility Computing


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Analysis: VERITAS Software elbowed its way into further contention in the utility computing space when the storage company moved to acquire application virtualization concern Ejascent for $59 million this past week.

Analysts say the purchase could help it compete with larger utility computing rivals IBM , HP , and EMC .

Although the space has taken raps from research firms such as IDC, which recently dismissed the sector as "futility computing" because it doesn't believe customers will invest heavily this year, companies such as VERITAS and EMC are wasting no time snapping up utility computing technologies.

VERITAS began its march into the increasingly competitive space over a year ago. In December 2002, it bid to buy application performance management player Precise Software Solutions and server provisioning outfit Jareva Technologies for a combined $599 million in stock and cash.

The Mountain View, Calif.-based company, which made its name and money as a major storage software provider, has since absorbed the companies' technologies.

VERITAS 'Strikes Gold,' Says Analyst

Enterprise Storage Group Analyst William Hurley believes VERITAS has "struck gold" with the $59 million asking price for Ejasent, which he says boasts two mature products that are ideal for utility computing.

Ejasent's core product UpScale allows IT employees to move an application from one server to another without disrupting or terminating the application. UpScale takes a snapshot of an application, preserves its settings and data, and transfers it to a different server in near real time.

Ejasent also sells usage-based metering and billing software, called MicroMeasure. The product measures physical and logical data center assets, including servers, storage, and application transactions by specific users and departments.

VERITAS plans to integrate the MicroMeasure software into its application service level management product, CommandCentral Service.

VERITAS Senior Director of Product Marketing Bob Maness says UpScale makes it possible for IT workers to reduce the time and resources required for upgrades and application maintenance, while reducing application downtime for users. MicroMeasure, he maintains, provides the billing structure expected of utility computing environments.

Such on-the-fly capabilities are a hallmark of utility computing strategies, which provide customers with computing resources on-demand. Such services are often heavily automated and aim to help cost-conscious companies save money on both infrastructure and personnel.

Still, those are just some of the approaches to utility computing among vendors. IBM and HP, for example, choose to manage the data center itself and all of its corresponding infrastructure.

Others, such as EMC, are offering information lifecycle management (ILM) strategies, which involve managing data from its inception until its disposal. EMC also made its own move to offer utility computing services when it acquired server virtualization provider VMware in December.

Page 2: A Direct Response to EMC's Bid for VMWare?

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