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Computer Associates International Inc. is adding a storage virtualization component to its BrightStor storage portfolio by announcing Monday that the company will resell StoreAge Networking Technologies Inc.’s StoreAge Virtualization Manager cross-platform software.

Targeted at helping customers simplify SAN (storage area network) administration within multi-storage tiered heterogeneous IT environments, CA’s reseller agreement with StoreAge will allow CA to roll out hardware agnostic data space allocation capabilities for servers and storage devices.

CA and its authorized partners will offer and provide full support and capacity planning for SVM (StoreAge Virtualization Manager) as a standalone product that can be added to CA’s Data Availability, Storage Management and Enterprise Management suites.

CA’s BrightStor Storage Resource Manager and BrightStor ARCServe Backup offerings will introduce new features by complimenting its code with SVM.

For example, ARCServe customers can take advantage of StoreAge’s virtual snapshot technology to enable replication and significantly reduce backup and recovery windows by not impacting servers in use, said Eric Pitcher, vice president of product management for CA, based in Islandia, N.Y.

When used with CA’s Storage Resource Manager, StoreAge’s virtualization technology—which features a split-path architecture and single point-of-control for virtual volume management—can move data to less-expensive media based on decreasing value and utilization resources consumption.

Click here to read more about StoreAge’s virtualization efforts.

As a managed services provider and customer using BrightStor and StoreAge products within his offerings, Tyler Roe, president and CEO of Commack, N.Y.-based Inc., said customers are approaching his company seeking innovative ways to approach higher levels of application availability and means to mitigate downtime risks through virtualization.

“Our customers are absolutely ready to embrace virtualization as long as we can deliver it as a tried and true solution,” Roe said.

“The integration work that we may have otherwise needed to tackle ourselves has been addressed thorough CA and StoreAge relationship. I think that opens up a lot of interesting possibilities for us, and we’re excited about how this is going to play into our overall [technology] designs…it couldn’t be better timing from our perspective.”

Despite storage virtualization still just emerging from its infancy stages, storage vendors such as IBM, Hitachi Data Systems and EMC Corp. have proven the technology’s early traction with deployments in the field geared toward larger-sized enterprises, say industry analysts.

According to Framingham, Mass.-based IT research firm IDC, 30 percent of companies with 1,000 or more employees said they plan to begin to use storage virtualization in the next 12 months.

When the demographic moves up to companies with 10,000 employees, the number jumps up to 50 percent, said Laura Dubois, research director, Storage Software, for IDC.

Dubois points out that CA’s decision to resell StoreAge’s virtualization immediately benefits the company by gaining credibility in the eyes of customers, plugging a major replication hole within its BrightStor portfolio and making up some much-needed ground on its storage competitors in the race for virtualization.

While she said CA may still chose to outright acquire StoreAge, a reseller agreement gives the mammoth software provider a chance to slowly embrace the technology in a less-risky scenario.

“It’s giving [CA] the opportunity through this partnership to learn in the field, not only through deployments, but also for their sales force without any risk. They can see where it goes and see where customer acceptance is as a whole,” said Dubois.

“I think they gain the [storage virtualization] credibility without purchasing StoreAge.”

For CA and StoreAge partner Enterprise Systems Inc., the new marriage between the companies is well-suited for partners serving customers running complex installations that demand more flexible storage offerings not tied to any one particular vendor.

“The beauty of StoreAge is it is a solution that is fabric-based, not array-based. It’s designed to work in a heterogeneous environment. You’re not locked into any particular vendor solutions, so we can play with all of the big guys out there; it doesn’t matter of you have IBM, Hitachi, HP, and you can play,” said Rob Piwowarczyk, president of Golden, Colo.-based Enterprise Systems Inc.

“Whenever you can provide a unified solution to the end-user and minimize the number of consoles the administrator has to use, that’s a big plus.”

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