Storage manufacturer Exabyte has thrown its hat in the ring as a serious storage area network (SAN) hardware player, announcing a partnership with EMC, Brocade and Computer Associates (CA) to provide a bundled SAN solution.
The announcement comes in the wake of the formation of numerous vendor partnerships to provide enterprise customers a complete SAN solution. Veritas and HP recently formed an alliance to package Veritas management software with HP's fibre channel tape libraries. Similarly, Compaq sidled up its StorageWorks Enterprise Backup Solution with software by IBM and Tivoli.
Exabyte is touting the bundled offering as the first native fibre channel tape library SAN in Australia, which utilises Exabyte's Mammoth 2 drives, an EMC disk array, a Brocade switch and CA management software. The SAN can also use LTO, DLT and the soon-to-be-released Super DLT tape drives, a statement released by Exabyte said.
According to Graham Penn, analyst IDC's director of storage research, Asia Pacific, the trend of vendor partnerships in this space reflects a customer demand for a complete system that is relatively easy to install and will work all day, every day. While Penn believes there will be more alliances formed this year, the important factor for vendors is to achieve significant mind share in a competitive market.
Either way the channel appears to be in a good position to leverage existing vendor relationships while waiting to see which alliances begin to lead the race.
According to Richard Giddy, Exabyte's regional manager, Australia/New Zealand, the native fibre channel SAN reduces the cost of ownership and system failure by providing server-less backup and eliminating the need for additional hardware such as a router.
The company unveiled the new offering at last week's Networld + Interop show in Sydney with a promotion designed to inspire its channel partners to speed up sales.
Featuring a Holden F3000 race car at its stand, Giddy said Exabyte is implementing a sales reward scheme for its resellers wherein the top 10 salespeople from the company's channel will be invited to cruise Wakefield race track in the car later in the year.
Photograph: Holden F3000 race car rests in front of Exabyte's SAN at N+I