Finding a Storage Niche in the Tough Government Market

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Solution provider ATS is finding lucrative opportunities within the government sector, implementing data protection, storage and deduplication technologies.

While there’s no such thing as a recession-proof market, solution provider ATS is finding that the federal government’s growing need for data protection, storage and deduplication technologies make for some incredibly lucrative opportunities.

Scott Sanner, ATS’s director of partner alliances, says his firm’s success is the result of being able to deliver “the right types of technology at the right time” that can solve government customers’ most pressing needs.

Even in an economic downturn, government agencies are faced with the growing need to store and retain immense volumes of data and maintain compliant with regulatory standards, he says.

Technology that meets these goals also needs to have the added benefit of cost savings, he says, and virtual tape libraries (VTL) and deduplication solutions from Sepaton, ATS’s storage vendor partner, fit the needs of ATS’s government clients.

Jim Smid, data centre practice manager for ATS, says like many commercial customers, government clients are trying to do more with less by increasing utilisation rates, optimising their data storage environments, saving on energy costs and minimising the physical footprint of their data centres.

VTL increases availability and performance of storage infrastructures without the high cost and failure rates of traditional tape storage. Using deduplication can eliminate redundant data from customers’ data volumes, leaving more room for new data and optimising capacity.

“We always find that dedupe and VTL are technologies that help our customers who are struggling with managing and maintaining these huge stores of data more efficiently,” says Smid. “The technologies address a lot of these problems at once,” he says.

ATS’s latest customer win turned out to be the largest deal in Sepaton’s history, says Terry Richardson, vice president at Sepaton. ATS implemented S2100 S2 VTL appliances, Sepaton’s DeltaStor deduplication software as well as Sepaton’s data replication technology to enhance backup and disaster recovery for two very large government agencies, Richardson says.

In a three-stage rollout, the agencies will apply Sepaton’s technologies to data stores whose sheer size is mind-boggling – one agency had nearly a petabyte of data and the other weighed in at a hefty 700 terabytes, says Richardson.

For Sepaton, the deal was more than just a financial coup, Richardson says.

“This was a new account for us, and additionally it drove us further into the government sector, and with ATS’s help, it further solidified our presence in a tough vertical market,” Richardson says.

While the win definitely demonstrates the opportunity for savvy solution providers who can identify and quickly solve government customers’ most pressing issues like storage and efficiency concerns, it doesn’t necessarily mean it’ll be smooth sailing for the vertical.

Schmid says the government vertical is extremely competitive and that there are many solution providers putting together deduplication solutions. The differentiator for ATS was the scalability and high throughput capabilities of Sepaton’s solution, as well as ATS’s ability to ensure the solutions worked seamlessly from day one.

Another bright spot in the market is the recently passed economic stimulus package, which highlights efforts by the current administration to leverage technology more effectively to generate jobs, increase efficiencies and make government more transparent to constituents.

“We’re a little bit more insulated than the commercial space because the government has their funding planned out, you know. We don’t necessarily have the same pressures as we would if we had primarily commercial customers,” says Smid.

But he says while it still remains to be seen how customers will allocate their budgets, he’s confident in ATS’s ability to capitalise on the needs of the government market.

“Especially when dealing with government customers and their data centres, there are always issues to address and lots of problems that need to be solved,” Smid says.