EMC, Symantec Join Managed Services Party

From EMC to Symantec, storage companies want their piece of the managed services pie. Toward that end, EMC is launching a software-as-a-service platform that allows customers to backup their information to EMC data centers. Meanwhile, Symantec is putting the final touches on its Symantec Protection Network -- which will allow VARs to offer storage management services to their customers.

For managed service providers, the race is on to find a storage service that complements their existing platforms and sales strategies. Companies such as Symantec and Vembu have vowed to promote their managed storage services through channel partners, while direct sales veterans such as EMC still receive a healthy dose of skepticism from potential partners.

Fierce competition between managed storage companies is hardly surprising. After all, the managed storage market is expected to remain quite healthy for years to come. IDC estimates revenue for this fast-growing market will reach $15 billion by 2011, representing a 33.3 percent compound annual growth rate (CAGR) between 2006 and 2011.it seems.

Established storage companies have been buying their way into the managed storage market. Seagate acquired managed storage expert eVault in 2006 and EMC snapped up Berkeley Data Systems last year. Berkeley's managed storage solution scales from consumers to enterprises. Start-ups such as Vembu have also moved into the market.

The range of storage options for MSPs will continue to grow this year. There are strong indications that Symantec will now launched the Symantec Protection Network in the February timeframe. Symantec has stated that the network will initially focus on managed storage, with managed security capabilities to be added incrementally.

Symantec Protection Network has been in beta testing since early 2007 and was expected to become generally available in late 2007 or January 2008, but the official launch apparently has slipped to February so that Symantec and its partners could test the system more fully, according to one company watcher.

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