Storage solution providers enter scene

Service providers are moving into storage, promising to rid users of their storage management headaches.

First application service providers marched on to the scene to ease users’ software maintenance burdens. Now, service providers are moving into storage, promising to rid users of their storage management headaches.

The storage rental market, virtually unknown in New Zealand, is starting to make inroads across the Tasman and it won’t be long before you’ll see some sort of presence here, says Graham Penn, Asia-Pacific director of storage research for IDC Australia.

For a monthly fee, storage service providers host, manage and operate storage for their customers at remote data centres, similar to the way application service providers rent applications to clients.

Massachusetts-based StorageNetworks, which specialises in providing storage as a utility, has been building data centres around the Asia-Pacific region. It is setting one up in Sydney.

There will probably be one in Auckland at some stage, says Penn, who adds that companies such as IBM Global Services, CSC, HDS and EDS (all of which have data centres here) are keen to get involved in this emerging market.

The service is not cheap. Customers pay four to five times the cost per megabyte of storage but get guaranteed levels of service and security.

Penn says storage rental is an option for organisations that don’t have a lot of infrastructure, especially those that are in a quickly growing market.

“They may not have a lot of capital up front to buy storage. There is a lot of attraction for start-ups and that is driving the business in the US and Asia. In New Zealand it will more likely be companies that need to expand storage resources, especially as they get into B2B.

“One of the issues is you can’t find staff to run IT infrastructure and especially storage.”

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