A Busy Summer: Are Good Times Around the Corner?


You can tell that IT leaders are expecting the economy to pull out of its doldrums heading into next year simply by the amount of business activity that's going on now.

Usually, the wheeling and dealing slows to a trickle in July and August as the movers and shakers head to the beach. This year, however, we've seen a flurry of action as the vendor community tries to position itself for the expected return to normal economic conditions.

The latest move comes from LSI, which has ponied up $25 million for clustered NAS specialist ONStor, a price that is said to be a pittance compared to the VC money that has gone into the company since its founding in 2000. ONStor specializes in NAS gateways and other products designed to help enterprises provision for and manage unstructured data. LSI is hoping to utilize that technology base, as well as ONStor's substantial channel and OEM relationships, to provide a broad platform that can effectively oversee both structured and unstructured data.

To do that, LSI is placing ONStor's Bobcat and Couger arrays, as well as the EverOn software stack and iSCSI systems like the Pantera, under its Engenio division. There, it will form the basis of a new NAS and unified storage portfolio most likely designed to compete with NAS leader NetApp. NetApp, by the way, is headed by former Engenio VP Tom Georgens, who was all set to spin the division off into a separate company until LSI pulled the plug in 2006.

NetApp, meanwhile, still reeling from the loss of Data Domain to EMC, could find itself on the losing end again depending on how IBM views the situation. According to Enterprise Storage Forum, IBM resells a broad range of NetApp NAS systems, but it also has a longstanding relationship with LSI around midrange SAN products. With LSI now getting into the NAS arena, NetApp could find itself losing market share in the lucrative IBM channel.

With data demands creeping up even in the face of diminished economic activity, storage has been the one bright spot in enterprise spending over the past two years. So it's no surprise that there's a lot of positioning now as the economy gears up again.

The train is leaving the station and everyone wants to make sure they're in the passenger car and not hanging off the caboose.