Broadband firm branches out into storage business

Wellington-based broadband network provider CityLink is to rent out chunks of digital storage space from next month.

Wellington-based broadband network provider CityLink is to rent out chunks of digital storage space from next month.

CityLink piloted the service, called CitySTORE, with 20 Wellington companies of varying size during September and will launch it officially on Thursday.

CityLink provides ethernet connection services (10Mbit/s) over optical fibre to customers in the Wellington central business district. Customers can either have point to point links or access to CityLink’s switched ethernet metropolitan area network (MAN) called PublicLAN.

Hamish MacEwan, who works on CityLink product development, says CitySTORE will provide raw chunks of storage which customers will access either through the Windows networking protocol SMB (server message block) or the SCP (secure copy) tool. SMB will allow customers to access the storage as a drive on their PC.

Users will be able to use the service in any way they wish and be able to encrypt, zip or process files before copying them to storage. Pricing will be $100 a month for 5GB, $250 a month for 25GB and $1000 a month for 125GB.

MacEwan says CityLink envisages that small and medium-sized companies will be attracted to the 5GB offering as a back-up service. “Those who don’t want to have to bother with changing tapes and removing them every day. We’re aware of companies addressing the enterprise storage market at the higher end but we thought there was demand for simplicity in backup and archiving among small companies.”

He sees larger companies using the service to distribute their storage over several locations.

CityLink has built the storage platform using the Debian Linux distribution as the operating system and the freeware file and print server Samba. “We built the box ourselves and Debian provides a very secure and low profile server. In the future, as the volume goes up, we’ll look at purchasing an off-the-shelf storage solution. Eventually we’d like to move into the iSCSI (storage over IP) area because that is an even plainer product than SMB or SCP.”

CityLink plans to provide affiliated services such as archiving in the future.

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