Will Faster Disaster Recovery Solutions Be The Next High-Growth Area For VARs?
Two industry executives believe extending SANs for disaster recovery presents a profitable opportunity for VARs.
Disaster recovery has to be accomplished more timely if Internet and e-commerce companies are to survive. That's the word we are getting from two companies trying to improve the way data is backed up and restored.
Rick Walsworth, VP of marketing for Campbell, CA-based SAN Valley, believes data continues to be more mission critical. "Statistics from the FCIA (Fibre Channel Industry Association) show that an hour of downtime costs an online financial institution $6.5 million," said Walsworth. "A credit card company loses $2.6 million per hour of downtime, while Fortune 500 companies like Dell can lose $1.5 million for that same hour of downtime."
Reducing Downtime From Hours To Minutes
It is critical for data-dependent companies to revive failed systems as quickly as possible. These companies cannot wait for someone to get the backup tapes from a vault, put them on a truck, and deliver them to the data center. Walsworth believes this scenario creates a tremendous opportunity for VARs. "Currently, VARs are focused on building SAN infrastructures and interconnecting storage within a data center," he said. "But once a company has multiple data centers, it will want to interconnect the centers for disaster recovery. This is an issue that larger OEMs are addressing today, but we believe it will start penetrating the channel eventually. The ability to overcome this issue is something VARs should start thinking about now. Interconnecting data centers over a metropolitan or wide area network enables companies to have backup windows that are measured in seconds or minutes rather than hours or days. The technology needed to interconnect Fibre Channel data centers over a metropolitan or wide area network is out there," said Walsworth. "This is an area in which VARs should focus, especially for businesses seeking a better disaster recovery system."
Pamela Jacobs, senior VP of marketing and strategic planning for Mountain View, CA-based 3ware, agrees that this type of disaster recovery is essential for many businesses. However, she believes the future of this technology lies in Gigabit Ethernet, not Fibre Channel. "Many of the solutions businesses use for disaster recovery have been driven by cost," said Jacobs. "Companies use technologies such as tape because a disaster recovery system that interconnects Fibre Channel SANs is too expensive for most." Jacobs believes the disaster recovery solution that makes sense for most companies involves SANs that are bridged together using Ethernet. "In the past all you had were Fibre Channel SANs," she said. "These are still very small in number because they are expensive and difficult to manage. You can now have all the benefits of a SAN, but with Ethernet rather than Fibre Channel. Most companies already use Ethernet, and it is also the transport mechanism used across metropolitan and wide area networks."
An Opportunity For VARs To Compete With The Big Boys
Jacobs agrees that this could be an area of growth for VARs. "Storage is a huge market opportunity for VARs," she said. "In the past, many VARs have been shut out of that opportunity either because of captive storage solutions or SANs being deployed at only the very high end. The disaster recovery solution we are talking about involves a new technology and products that are sold through the channel. This will allow resellers and integrators to compete with the expensive Sun, Compaq, and EMC storage products that are used in SAN solutions but which channel partners typically do not resell."
The message seems to be clear: Opportunities in disaster recovery will exist in the SAN market. I believe those opportunities will exist with both Fibre Channel and Gigabit Ethernet. Companies wanting to interconnect SANs in different states and even countries will be a growing business for storage VARs.Questions about this article? E-mail the author at EdM@corrypub.com.