Kodak is partnering with Data-Shield to add specialist legacy networking expertise and support skills to its service portfolio in Europe. The agreement is complementary and offers new business generation opportunities for both companies.
With its long heritage maintaining legacy tape and RAID storage systems, Kodak will now offer service, technical support and parts replacement for legacy SAN and WAN environments, with Data-Shield significantly extending its footprint in Europe working with Kodak's large service and support organisation totalling 500 plus field engineers.
Kodak's service and support business has traditionally focused on providing 'break-fix' services to tape and disc storage vendors, along with print, scanner, imaging manufacturers. It is the official service and support partner for storage vendors, Sony, Nexsan and Spectra Logic, and provides support on other storage equipment from vendors including EMC, HDS, Sun (StorageTek) and Plasmon.
Mark Pickering, Kodak's key account manager, service sales, UK and Ireland, says, "Every large tape or storage device connects to a computer via a SAN so by partnering with Data-Shield we're enhancing our ability to compete on enterprise bids which have both a storage and connectivity component."
Data-Shield focuses on SAN infrastructure providing 24/7 service to organisations using legacy fibre channel SAN switches from Brocade, McData and Cisco, as well as rebadged products from manufacturers including EMC, Fujitsu, Hitachi Data Systems (HDS), HP, IBM, Dell, CNT and Inrange. It also services legacy WAN infrastructure from Adva and Ciena.
Anthony Rylands, Data-Shield's regional sales manager, says, "When manufacturers end-of-life their SAN switches, customers have two options: refresh their equipment by upgrading or using existing infrastructure which is then not supported cost effectively long term. In many cases upgrading isn't required it's a waste of money in cash conscious times."
While SAN equipment is reliable, when failures occur the impact is catastrophic given most switches are located in the heart of a data centre typically connecting mission-critical mainframe computers with their associated storage.
In addition, most enterprises have a myriad of SAN switches of different ages from different vendors so faultfinding is complicated. This is exacerbated even further as SAN switch manufacturers and their OEM partners have agreements in place preventing them supporting each other's badged equipment.
Cliff Hutchings, Data-Shield's founder and technical director, explains, "Single sourced environments are rare. Typically there's a mishmash of equipment which then becomes a nightmare for organisations to diagnose problems without having to call various different manufacturers, and have multiple support contracts in place. We're removing this problem for customers as Kodak and Data-Shield engineers will manage the total environment for them."
While some parts like fans and optics on chassis-based backbone SAN switches can easily be changed in the field, when an actual switch has to be swapped out, the firmware, software licences and hardware all have to precisely match the existing environment otherwise the replacement unit won't work.
Mark Pickering concludes, "Data-Shield wants to provide its SAN service expertise across Europe and sees the way to do this by partnering with a like-minded company such as Kodak who has the service engineer footprint and a
 Storage area network
 Wide area network