Is Pillar Too Late to the Storage Party?

New technology arrives two years after initial product launch.

Pillar Data debuted two new storage array this week that promise to provide 80 percent disk utilization and tighter integration within Oracle database environments.

The Axiom 600 and Axiom 600MC, which stands for mission critical, are the third and fourth products from the seven-year-old startup. The company released its flagship product, the Axiom 500, in 2006.

A lower-end array, the Axiom 300, debuted in 2007. Pillar also pushed out a software management tool, AxiomOne, in 2006.

The storage technology lets enterprises pool NAS and SAN in one location using an application-aware strategy. IT designates where specific application storage should be done on the disk depending on the need for quick retrieval. Pillar is funded to the tune of $100 million by Oracle CEO Larry Ellison's private investment group.

While storage appears to be a recession-proof technology segment, given vendor earnings earlier this year, new product traction isn't a given, said one analyst.

"This [application-aware technology] resonated back in 2004 and 2005 when there were few storage alternatives," Charles King, principal analyst Pund-IT, told "But the industry has moved well ahead at this point," King said.

In the two years since Pillar's first storage system was released, primary market competitors NetApp and EMC have been steadily going head-to-head in pushing out tools in a fight over the NAS market.

According to research firm IDC EMC's 38.1 percent revenue share of the NAS market places it solidly ahead of NetApp's 27.2 percent.

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