APTARE Needs To Keep Its SRM Software Relevant in the Face of Dropping Disk Prices; Part 2 of 2

Earlier this month, APTARE’s CEO and President, Rick Clark, and I discussed the challenges that a company like APTARE faces in transforming itself from a provider of backup reporting software as customers start to switch from tape to disk-based data protection. So as customers make this change, Rick and I discussed what APTARE needs to do next if it plans to move beyond managing just tape-based backup and remain relevant in customer environments in the years ahead.

To address this challenge, APTARE’s Clark is putting the company on a path towards providing storage resource management (SRM) software in the form of its StorageConsole Capacity Manager. The danger associated with treading down this path is it is one that many other software products have traveled before and failed to deliver the value that customers expected. The million dollar question (that is hopefully not accompanied by a million dollar price tag) is, can APTARE make this transformation and deliver a product that customers want?

Right now, I would say it is too soon to tell. APTARE does seem to have the right building blocks in place to make this happen. StorageConsole’s underlying architecture of a scalable database, no agents and a web-based browser management interface helps it to deliver scalable, simple enterprise deployments. APTARE can also capitalize on its Backup Manager component to deliver immediate value to companies.

The challenge that APTARE faces, however, is the same challenge that every other SRM vendor faces. Keep SRM software relevant in the face of declining storage capacity prices. This factor alone often makes it far too easy for companies to throw more storage capacity at the problem as opposed to trying to monitor and proactively manage it. Regardless of whether or not APTARE has the right architecture, they need to help break users of their storage consumption habit.

The primary hope APTARE has of doing this is if StorageConsole deploys and works as easily when collecting SRM information as it does when doing backup reporting. If APTARE can deliver a product that provides an end-to-end view from the application down to the storage spindle without users going through a myriad of upgrades, reconfigurations and server reboots, StorageConsole stands a chance to succeed. But having been an end-user who tried to deploy SRM and understands how difficult it is to make work even given a perfect architecture, APTARE is going to have to do a lot more to convince skeptical end users that their maturing SRM tool (or anyone else’s) is ready for prime time in today’s enterprise storage environments.

This is the 2nd part in a two-part series based on a briefing I received from APTARE’s CEO and President, Rick Clark. The first part appeared on February 25th, 2008.

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