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Smaller vendors aim at digital archiving as growth market

Smaller vendors are looking at opportunities outside of the traditional data-storage market, and are finding digital archiving to be a lucrative option.

Further evidence that VARs are tapping into growing opportunities in the digital archiving market, which include media production companies, came with Columbia, Md.-based Digi-Data Corp.'s announcement today that it formed an agreement to sell clustered storage systems with South Huntington, N.Y.-based value-added reseller (VAR) Integrity Data Systems (IDS).

Under the terms of the agreement, IDS will sell Digi-Data's RAID storage system including the T-2000 controller. The product can support as many as four controllers, can be clustered together to store up to 840 terabytes (TB) and has 32 Fibre Channel (FC) ports that can scale up to 1,200 Mbps. The system is also network-attached storage (NAS), FC and iSCSI compatible. IDS will also sell the T-3000, a smaller system that helps customers with video and post-production editing, which scales up to 120 TB and has 4 FC ports.

Tom Fabrizio, director of channel sales at Digi-Data, said the company will continue to sell storage products through resellers exclusively. By the end of the year, Fabrizio said the company aims to grow its channel from 25 to 100 partners, tapping VARs like IDS that have a foothold in the media business.

"Integrity Data Systems work with most of the broadcast studios in New York, and we are looking for partners like them across the country to join our partner program," Fabrizio said.

"While there is a battle that may have been won and lost in primary storage, disk archival storage is still emerging and up for grabs."
Tony Asaro
Senior AnalystEnterprise Strategy Group

Digi-Data will announce its channel program in April, Fabrizio said. The company will have a one-tiered channel program and will offer a 35% margin on their sales deals.

Howard Solomon, president of IDS, said his company has doubled its revenues from 2005 to 2006, from its digital-media storage business.

"We have some fairly large accounts with large public institutions, research institutions, publishers, broadcasters and post-production houses," Solomon said.

According to Solomon, there are very few companies that have 4 Gbit Fibre technology.

"The T-2000 gives us multiple controllers with multiple ports that we can aggregate to get higher speed data throughput; and in the business of delivering video, its data throughput and concurrent streams that matter. This is what our customers require," Solomon said.

Milford, Mass.-based research firm The Enterprise Strategy (ESG) predicts tremendous growth in disk-based archives and projects over 6,000 petabytes (PB) in 2007; 9,400 PB in 2008; 15,000 PB in 2009 and 27,000 PB in 2010.

"The opportunity for VARs is to integrate application solutions with disk archival storage. You can provide a total solution and help end users establish best practices," said Tony Asaro, ESG's senior analyst. "While there is a battle that may have been won and lost in primary storage, disk archival storage is still emerging and up for grabs," Asaro said.

Digi-Data's announcement follows another today by MicroNet Technology of Torrance, Calif., which will be introducing its new Platinum NAS 4.0 in the second quarter. The product has 4 SATA drive channels, is RAID compatible and scales up to 4 TB. It is targeted to small businesses with between 60 to 500 users whose storage needs are typically between 500 GB and 4 TB of data storage.

"We think of our SMB customers based on their storage needs because accounting files, for example, don't take up a whole lot of space, whereas if you are doing digital prepress or postproduction for Hollywood, those businesses might have 10 employees but they might need 40 TB of storage," said Joe Trupiano, director of marketing at MicroNet Technology.

Trupiano also said the new product, which will be able to use the dual Gigabit Ethernet box to share storage between departments once it's plugged into the network, will be a very good fit for companies in the digital media industry.

Joe Kennedy, president of MicroNet Only a Los Angeles, Calif.-based MicroNet Technology reseller, concurs and said the new product is perfect for his customers in the postproduction, television advertising and video media space, where shared storage will help customers easily access projects.

"Who needs 4 TB? These companies need it. They are always running out of disk space," Kennedy said. "One of the nice things about 4 TB is that the data can be shared so if someone is doing a project and another person wants to look at the same project they don't have to look at 20 different computers," Kennedy added.

Last week, ATTO Technology, Inc.,Amherst, NY introduced its RAID adapters – the Express SAS R348 and R380 and along with the products unveiled its SAS Advantage channel program to steer VARs and systems integrators toward selling the products to the digital media market.

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