CA pairs up with Sony for storage push

Almost everything at the recent CA World show was linked in one way or another to Computer Associates' on-demand initiative. Much more of the emphasis at the show seemed to be focused on the security-related issues addressed by its eTrust product line than on what was new with BrightStor, but a few features are worth mentioning.

ARCserve 10, which many of us would consider the company's flagship storage product, looks to be released towards the end of this year. I saw no demo, but a company spokesman I talked with indicated much faster performance and easier install as the prominent benefits of this release.

CA's market share of back-up technologies has slipped during the last few years, but it looks like the company has at last awakened and will be revving up its efforts again.

This time, expect CA to make a major push to reach storage prospects via the channel route. At the show, the company announced a sales partnership program with aggressive incentives for partners and details of a global alliance between CA and Sony. Initially, the two companies will target products at the financial services, healthcare, and surveillance markets, with others perhaps to follow.

CA's Enterprise back-up solution will be paired with Sony's Petasite systems, and CA's BrightStor ARCserve Backup will ship with Sony's AIT WORM (write once, read many) tape drives. The first product pairing will be aimed at producing a single consolidated solution that will eventually have broad appeal across all markets, while the second pairing will be targeted at regulated industries that need to provide and manage secure data.

The Sony alliance may have significant implications, although it will be hard to make projections about that for a while because Sony's devices, while often well regarded, have never really taken hold in the North American corporate market. This is a worldwide joint marketing effort however, so CA's strengths in North America and Europe may play to Sony's advantage, and CA can be expected to draw strength from Sony's presence in the Asia/Pacific region.

What is certain though, is that these solution sets address two major needs that are increasingly in demand at most major storage sites: the need to consolidate storage assets in a way that results in economical management of stored data, and the need to provide safe and secure data that has an easily reported audit trail. The good news for CA's sales channel partners is that they will have new products and aggressive pricing programs to work with.

The good news for IT buyers is that there is now another offering from which to choose. The fun for those of us who follow this industry will come from watching how these two very large animals learn to dance together.

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