Glasshouse Technologies's UK MD, Jason Rabbetts, has completed a management buy-out of the storage hardware and software business inside Glasshouse. The new company is called Storepoint Data Limited.

Andy Norman was the MD of Sagitta before it was bought by Glasshouse and combined with Source Computing to form Glasshouse UK in 2004. The MD of Source Computing was Jason Rabbetts. He became top dog at Glasshouse UK while Andy Norman became technology services director.

Recently Norman became Practice Leader, Operational Support Services, at Glasshouse UK. He has now moved up to the MD-ship and Paul Hammond is the professional services director.

Rick Russ, the ex-Sales Director at Glasshouse, joined Jason as a founder of Storpoint and has become a director with responsibilities for 'identifying key partners for StorPoint that will assist clients in reducing the costs and risks involved with data and storage management. (Also) Working with clients and partners to solve client's storage related issues' according to a website entry he has created. Russ and Rabetts go way back; Russ having helped found Source Computing along with Rabbetts.

In these very early days Storepoint has just two employees, Rabbetts and Russ. They are also the owners of Storepoint and have equity in Glasshouse. Storepoint rents its office space from, surprise, surprise, Glassgouse UK, at St Georges House, 31-33 Monument Hill, Weybridge, Surrey. The obviously amicable separation from Glasshouse took place in August but has been kept fairly quiet - the new company doesn't even have a website. A search for 'Storepoint Data' garners no results on the Glasshouse website.

Why the divestiture?

Why has Glasshouse UK divested itself of its storage hardware and software business?

Paul Hammond said: "Jason decided to go off and build a storage hardware company and took some Glasshouse hardware companies with him. It helps us with our message of being independent. We're pleased to be able to focus on our role as a pure play storage services vendor."

Glasshouse describes itself as the global leader in independent storage consulting services' and 'the leading provider of independent services that help organizations solve the business problems of enterprise storage.' This independence position is compromised if it actually sells storage products.

Rabbetts said: "Glasshouse was a pure services business in the US. Two years ago the plan was to transform Glasshouse UK into a pure services play. That became possible this year. The question was what to do with the products side of the business? I proposed to the board that I buy it."

The mid-market

There's a type of customer angle to this. Glasshouse likes to deal with Times 100, Fortune 500-type enterprises. It has a staff of around 80 people in the UK working on this. The market level below that is the mid-market - Storepoint Data's target.

Is it a good time to start up a new company looking at that area?

Rabbetts said: "There is a big opportunity out there, particularly in the mid-market. New exciting technologies and service propositions make the mid-market right for us."

Why?

"In the mid-market the technologies are interesting. People are looking for a complete solution, not just services. These businesses don't have technologists on their payroll, which the Fortune 500 companies do."

Storepoint Data can fill a gap.

Also many of the storage system houses of a few years ago no longer exist or haven't moved on. Rabbetts thinks Storepoint can do a good job. It has the existing hardware and software product customers from Glasshouse. Now it is busy looking for partners and expects to announce its arrival on the scene in November.

Square one

From now on Glasshouse will be a pure storage services play whereas Storepoint will act as a storage valued-added reseller. Where services are needed it will resell Glasshouse services. Where Glasshouse UK needs storage hardware and software it will or it could get them from Storepoint Data.

For services-focused Glasshouse it's a case of hail new chief Andy Norman, exit old chief Jason Rabbetts in a nutshell. For Storepoint Data we can expect Star Trek-type activity as it boldly goes into the mid-market to explore strange new applications, and seek out new businesses and customers.

Jason Rabbets took his storage VAR, Source Computing, into a merger with Sagitta and acquisition by Glasshouse in 2004, and is now separating from Glasshouse to form a new storage VAR. Back to square one?

Yes, but I get the feeling that he's happier running his own show rather than being the MD of the UK subsidiary of a world-wide services company. He wants to supply complete systems - services plus hardware and software. You can take box (product) shifting out of the business but not out of the businessman it seems. It's in the blood.

Rabbetts said: "We've done a good job in the last couple of years. It was an opportunity that appealed to me. I just like a risk now and again."