Microsoft and IBM sign storage deal

Microsoft and IBM have signed a deal to co-market server based archiving systems, recommending each others products.

The deal means Microsoft business partners will push IBM storage and software to its customers for email archiving systems. In return IBM will optimise its email archiving products for Windows Server and its sales force will recommend the combined system.

"We're confident that this agreement will expand both companies' reach in the e-mail archiving space," said Kristie Bell, vice president of IBM System Storage.

"The solution we're announcing will address the mushrooming e-mail management and storage needs of businesses today, and unlike certain solutions offered by competitors, this solution enables customers to deploy their archiving solution on a Windows platform instead of introducing other operating system environments to manage."

The focus of the deal is the DS4200 storage system, which comes with 4TB or 8TB option, and can be expanded via expansion modules. It will go on sale in the first quarter of next year.

Demand for email archiving systems has risen steadily, helped by new corporate governance laws introduced in the wake of the Enron and WorldCom scandals. Companies are now advised to keep all corporate emails permanently in case of investigation.

"Customer demand for content management and e-mail storage solutions continues to grow," said Dr. Claude Lorenson, group product manager for Microsoft storage.

"We are pleased to work with IBM to meet that critical need and provide customers with an end-to-end Windows-based archive solution to help customers reduce IT complexity."

According to aIDC survey of the market in January the email archiving business is set to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 34.5% through 2009. It estimates 2005 revenue topped $310 million worldwide.

"As email becomes widely accepted as a record of business and as more firms adopt record retention policies that include electronic communications (email and instant messaging), we expect to see a robust uptick in the deployment of email archiving applications," said Vivian Tero, senior research analyst for Compliance Infrastructure at IDC.