Microsoft Deal Gives W. Quinn a Boost

Microsoft Deal Gives W. Quinn a Boost

Najaf Husain

By Patrick Seitz, Senior Editor

With an endorsement of its core product from Microsoft Corp., W. Quinn Associates Inc. is getting a jump on its competitors in the emerging market for storage management software.

Reston, Va.-based Quinn announced a three-year, worldwide licensing agreement with Microsoft in late March. The deal calls for Microsoft to deploy Quinn's QuotaAdvisor 4.0 storage-monitoring and policy-enforcement software for Windows NT in the company's corporate data centers.

Quinn President Najaf Husain and other top company officials said Microsoft's decision to deploy QuotaAdvisor for its internal use reflects the growing momentum behind W. Quinn as the leading supplier of enterprisewide storage-management solutions.

"People are finally starting to realize who we are. Before it was like, 'Who's Quinn?' " said Todd Fredrick, senior vice president of sales.

Founded in 1986, Quinn produces software that prevents wasted disk space on servers resulting from duplicate files, archived e-mail, games and other memory hogs. The company's tools can set storage quotas for users, issue reports and warnings, and even automatically seek out and delete unwanted files.

Privately held Quinn had sales of $5.8 million in 1998 and expects to surpass $10 million in 1999, Husain said.

About 25 percent of Quinn's business last year was with the federal government. Its client base includes the National Imagery and Mapping Agency, the Navy, the U.S. Postal Service and the Patent and Trademark Office.

The federal government portion of the company's revenue should rise to about 35 percent next year, Husain said. The federal government's rapid uptake of the Windows NT operating system will drive Quinn's public sector sales, he said.

Quinn does about 60 percent of its federal sales through the General Services Administration schedule and purchase cards. The remaining 40 percent is through resellers and systems integrators, Husain said.

For example, the company worked with Compaq Computer Corp. of Houston on a recent project for the Postal Service. Fredrick said Quinn now is trying to expand its integrator partnerships and is in discussions with Unisys Federal, as well as Federal Data Corp. and Wang Global.

Competitors in the storage management solutions market include HighGround Systems Inc. of Marlborough, Mass.; NTP Software of Manchester, N.H.; and Argent Software of Torrington, Conn.

Microsoft's selection of Quinn should give the company a boost.

"It shows that the originator of the [NT operating system] has looked at our product and said it was sufficient for their own use," Husain said. "It's a nice deal, but it's not going to make us or break us. We were doing very well before."

Although financial terms of the Microsoft licensing deal were not disclosed, QuotaAdvisor starts at $795 per server for a single license.

Storage management is a hot area now because of the increasing demands for data storage at government agencies and corporations, Fredrick said. "Storage is now the most expensive ongoing cost of the data center," he said.

The wasted disk space that is eliminated through QuotaAdvisor's monitoring and enforcement is often sufficient to prevent or delay the purchase of additional, costly RAID units, Quinn officials said.

On a typical government installation of Quinn's QuotaAdvisor, the company has found 30 percent wasted disk space, Fredrick said. Many users are found to be backing up their desktops and archiving files to the server.

A computer system at the Metro Dade Police Department in Miami used to crash whenever a hurricane warning was posted for the region. Quinn installed a storage monitoring system at Metro Dade and discovered that employees were backing up their desktop files to the server as a precaution, which would disable the system, Fredrick said.

"I'd rather inconvenience a single user than have a server go down," Fredrick said.

Wade McCool, a computer engineer at Eglin Air Force Base in Florida, said his organization installed QuotaAdvisor as a "precautionary measure." The systems department at the base decided to set storage limits on users to prevent them from storing too many archived files on the servers.

"If you run out of disk space on NT servers, they will stop working," McCool said. The air force base has 1,500 users linked to three servers, he said. So far, the base has only used QuotaAdvisor to set storage quotas, not to identify and recover wasted disk space, he said.

While QuotaAdvisor is still Quinn's flagship product, the company is attempting to transition customers to its new suite of disk management software products for Windows NT, called StorageCentral. Introduced in October 1998, the suite includes three products: QuotaAdvisor, DiskAdvisor and DiskWatcher. W. Quinn's commercial customers include Allstate Insurance, America Online, Motorola Inc. and United Parcel Service.

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