Ken Cheney, vice president of marketing and business development at Likewise Software (, says:

While many segments of the economy struggle, virtualization, cloud computing and an explosion of unstructured data in the enterprise are shifting the landscape for storage providers, creating more market opportunities than ever before.

We are experiencing this first hand at Likewise Software where we recently announced that Likewise will add 25 percent to our workforce in sales, marketing and software engineers. Back in early June, we announced Likewise Storage Services, an integrated software platform for identity, security and storage. Built for OEM consumption, Likewise Storage Services supports both CIFS and NFS, as well as “mixed-mode” multi-protocol deployments with consistent identity and security across both CIFS and NFS for file objects. A few weeks later, we announced our decision to sell our Active Directory Bridge business unit to Beyond Trust. Now with our focus 100 percent on storage, we are poised to go after this market with gusto.

And we’re not alone at the storage party. EMC, HP, Microsoft and VMware are among the big industry players turning up the heat in storage. Recently, Microsoft has been making a lot of noise around its Server Message Block (SMB) 2.2 for Windows Server 8 – its big, bold platform play for virtualization and the cloud. SMB 2.2 has huge implications for the storage industry and BILLIONS are at stake for those who miss out.

The limitations of previous versions of CIFS / SMB lead to the widespread adoption of block-based storage for applications and virtualization. SMB 2.2 file-based storage becomes not only a credible option, but the recommended option for provisioning Microsoft workloads. This will result in a sea change in the storage industry.

For months Likewise has been quietly working to build support for SMB 2.2 for our OEM customers. We just announced a licensing agreement with Microsoft to add support for SMB 2.2 in Likewise Storage Services. This will allow our OEM customers to better manage the growth of unstructured data by providing consistent access control for files across physical, virtual and cloud environments. Despite the momentum we feel at Likewise, we are keenly aware that we’ve only scratched the surface of the huge and growing opportunity in storage software.