Stores Great...Less Filling


The storage sector slimmed down a bit this week as two publicly-traded players gobbled two privately-held concerns.

Quantum inked a definitive agreement to acquire SANlight for $8.5 million, while Computer Associates International (CA) moved to buy Netreon for an undisclosed cash sum.

Quantum, the Milpitas, Calif. tape drive manufacturer, purchased software maker SANlight, in whom it already owned a 7 percent stake, to help bolster its data protection for devices such as its Quantum DX30, a disk-based backup system that emulates a tape library. SANlight has been developing applications in stealth mode.

The DX30 reduces the amount of time required to complete a backup and to restore data on the network. Because it works seamlessly with tape libraries, it can be easily deployed and managed, which curtails software modifications and policy changes for IT workers. Most research firms see the tape drive market as spanning $3 to $4 billion over the next few years as the amount of corporate data increases.

Michael Del Rosso, vice president and chief technology officer, Quantum's Storage Solutions Group, called the purchase a piece of its "enhanced data protection" strategy.

"Our goal is to help customers deal with the limitations of conventional backup and restore methods..." Del Rosso said.

Quantum is serious about data protection, having taken the helm in creating the Enhanced Backup Solutions Initiative (EBSI), an independent, open storage industry coalition geared to educate IT professionals about disk-based backup technologies.

Quantum, whose competitors include IBM, StorageTek and Seagate, will purchase all of SANlight's assets, technology and intellectual property and integrate them into its storage solutions business. Most of the acquisition cost will be treated as research and development. Quantum expects the deal to close in February.

Meanwhile Islandia, NY's Computer Associates looked to absorb storage area network (SAN) software maker Netreon to fill a missing piece in its storage life cycle for its Managing Storage Without Boundaries initiative.

Netreon's SANexec Designer will be integrated into CA's BrightStor family of storage management products and will be branded as BrightStor SAN Designer. BrightStor SAN Designer (née SANexec Designer) reduces the chance for error by populating a dataset with SAN devices and their properties, and easing the data from step to step through the design and configuration process.

SANs have become increasingly popular for companies seeking to consolidate data storage in order to reduce costs and help their systems run more smoothly. However, the complexity of SANs has inhibited their acceptance outside of very large data centers. To ensure their fluidity, manufacturers have been whipping up storage management products. IDC estimates the complexity and continuing growth of storage needs will result in yield a $40 billion market by 2003. CA competes with a cadre of firms in the SAN space, including Veritas and HP.

To that end, Bill North said CA's Managing Storage Without Boundaries strategy with BrightStor decouples storage use from storage execution to achieve Enterprise Storage Automation.

"Managing storage without boundaries addresses key areas of dynamic provisioning and operational workflow providing order to storage chaos," North said. "BrightStor integrates all major areas of storage management: data availability, resource management, media management and network storage management with the new BrightStor Portal for centralized control."

BrightStor SAN Designer will be available through CA's worldwide sales force and authorized channel partners.

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