What do you get when you combine a vendor of feature-rich storage products with an experienced managed services provider?
Higher sales, more satisfied customers and a better competitive stance, if EMC and Unisys have anything to say about it.
EMC, of Hopkinton, Mass., and Unisys, of Blue Bell, Pa., have teamed to offer companies storage services on a pay-as-you-go basis. The goal is to allow companies to pay for only as much storage as they need, said Stuart Gavurin, vice president and managing partner of Global Outsourcing Infrastructure Services-Strategy & Portfolio Management for Unisys.
The offering is split into two options. The first, called Managed Utility Storage, is a full outsourcing model in which Unisys manages a full EMC environment for a company either at a Unisys data center or at the clients site. Unisys performs the monitoring, capacity planning and other functions expected of outsourcers.
The second offering, called Metered Storage, allows customers to manage their own storage infrastructures but provides everything the customer needs, including networked storage systems, replication, management software and professional services. The two services can be combined if necessary.
Customers pay Unisys on a per-gigabyte basis monthly, based on the amount of storage used. This pricing model is particularly useful for companies with seasonal or other fluctuations in storage requirements, Gavurin said. And unlike other systems, Unisys pricing is based on the criticality of the data instead of the volume of storage, he noted.
Both offerings are powered by EMCs StorageScope and an SRM (Storage Resource Management) monitoring and reporting system that provides monthly usage data based on gigabytes of storage used, which can be broken down by departmental or application-specific requirements. This provides IT organizations with a clear understanding of their overall usage and the capability to charge back storage costs to specific business departments based on actual usage, Gavurin said. Because the storage capacity is delivered when and where it is needed, the areas of the business that use storage resources most extensively can be provided with the most storage, he said.
Because it provides more information to the customer, its a more effective pricing model, said Andrew Reichman, an analyst with Forrester Research, of Cambridge, Mass.
“In a typical outsourced deal, they give you a bill, but the customer doesnt have a good way to validate the information on the bill,” he said. “What Unisys is doing is tightly coupling services with reporting tools that gets everybody on the same page regarding how many resources are being consumed.”
The partnering of Unisys and EMC makes a lot of sense for both customers and vendors, Reichman said.
“This means [companies] can get an EMC environment thats fully managed by someone else. It makes sense, especially for companies that are dedicated to the EMC environment but dont have the full staff to manage it themselves. They can go to an outsourcing arrangement where they dont have to be worried that they will be asked to switch their product set,” he said.
It also will help EMC competitively.
“EMC has been asked if it is going to get into the business of running storage for companies, but it has always shied away from providing managed services internally,” he said. “Ive seen EMC lose out to IBM Global Services, HP Consulting and EDS when a company said they want to outsource their entire IT environment.”