New SSPs Provide Storage Options

StorageNetworks Inc.'s recent IPO, which took off in a tech-unfriendly market, has brought mainstream attention to the storage service provider (SSP) market. New companies and spin-offs of older storage players have entered the new, unproven SSP space.

Storageway Inc. ( aims to leverage its relationships with colocation facilities to gain customers for its storage services. When customers arrange for services such as connectivity through their co-location vendor, Storageway hopes to step in and serve a customer’s storage needs, as well.

Startups, common users of colocation facilities, may be interested in Storageway. "Typically, startups start as small as they can so they can reduce their TCO (total cost of ownership)," says Dan Marshall, vice president of sales, storage, at Storageway.

Customers can enter contracts for as little as 100 GB over 90 day periods, reducing costly commitments for nascent organizations. Marshall says these small, short contracts are primarily adopted by sites in prelaunch promotion periods as they ramp up to full operations.

Not wanting to be characterized as a dot-com vendor, Marshall is quick to point out Storageway’s advantages for Fortune 1,000 organizations. "They realize how expensive and complicated their storage is," he says. In a world where companies compete for staff, as well as customers, outsourcing storage may be the way to go.

In addition, Marshall says many Fortune 1,000 customers, whom he deems "legacy customers," are finding that adding storage is forcing customers to increase their cage space. In addition to the capital investment in devices, these users are having to spend money on space at the co-location facility.

Marshall believes that a logical solution to this issue is moving storage investments to Storageway, freeing up cage space for servers and other devices.

Marshall says Storageway hopes to clone their services at data centers across the country. "Our model is very duplicatable," he says, suggesting that if the strategy works at one facility, it will work at any facility. "Our business model is based on the way we set up the gear," he says.

Finally, Storageway has developed proprietary software for managing its service. "Our first investment was in engineering development," Marshall reveals. Far from being a bunch of disks in a data center, Storageway is dedicated to providing integrated storage technology.

Tape stalwart Exabyte Corp. ( spun off a new SSP, CreekPath Systems Inc. ( Although CreekPath is wholly owned by Exabyte, it will be an independent company and brand from Exabyte.

CreekPath hopes to attract varieties of customers, but small companies with an eye to scaling may be interested in CreekPath’s services -- the smallest service they offer is 10 GB of data storage. The 10 GB is far from a desktop hard drive, but 10 GB of primary storage and backup, exceeding the value of simply attaching another hard drive to a server.

In addition, users can quickly scale up their storage as needs increase, ideal for rising dot-coms. A call to CreekPath to increase storage is far less work than installing and maintaining new storage devices with the growth of a company. In addition, CreekPath assumes the risk of investing in storage devices like most SSPs.

CreekPath intends to follow the lead of Compaq Computer Corp. ( and other companies providing "utility model" storage, charging for storage as if it were electricity or other intangible commodity.

A storage software vendor, OTG Software Inc. (, also introduced a storage service offering, ( In addition, it released a version of their storage management software designed for SSPs.

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