IBM Resells SANSymphony

Further setting its sights on EMC Corp.’s storagesolutions, IBM Corp. announced this week itwould resell DataCore Software Corp.’sSANSymphony software as a complement to its Enterprise Storage Server.SANSymphony provides block-level virtualization for Storage Area Networks(SANs).

“It’s a real endorsement of our technology,” says KenHorner, vice president of marketing at DataCore. Horner believes that theweight of a major like IBM gives SANsymphony credence in a constantly changingstorage market. New technologies appear so often, it is difficult for a leaderto establish itself in the marketplace.

IBM’s Global Services Division offers a number ofthird-party products to help the organization better serve its customers. It ishardly a one-stop shop for every enterprise product in existence, however.Horner says IBM puts each product it sells through rigorous testing before itwill offer the product to customers. “IBM is not a company known for takingrisks,” he says.

IBM and DataCore offer SANsymphony primarily as asolution for IBM’s Enterprise Storage Server or “Shark.” Horner says that largestorage arrays such as Shark and Hitachi’s Lightening are an important marketfor SANsymphony.

While big storage arrays are critical to DataCore, thebiggest servers may be left in the lurch. SANsymphony does not supportmainframe systems, opting instead for open systems running Unix and otheroperating systems. The fact that IBM mainframes use the ESCON and FICONconnectivity standards, rather than Fibre Channel may account for this.

Although IBM offers a number of storage managementproducts such as backup-and-recovery tools from its Tivoli division, and has made noise with itsStorageTank virtualization initiative, SANsymphony does not compete with any ofIBM’s storage products.

Horner says SANsymphony is complementary to many ofIBM’s products – some customers have even integrated SANsymphony into theTivoli enterprise management framework. “We’re interested in fulfilling theblock-level storage virtualization needs of IBM’s customers,” he says. TheStorageTank initiative is focused on providing file-level virtualization.

Horner suspects one reason IBM might be particularlyinterested in reselling SANsymphony is its ongoing battle with EMC for dominance of the storage market. EMCoffers software for block-level virtualization, while IBM has no competingproduct in its portfolio. “They can make a real powerful play on an EMCcustomer,” he says. –Chris McConnell