The company behind a small Southland-based remote data storage initiative launched last week was apparently unaware of a nationwide remote data storage concept.
Southern ISP SouthNet last week launched , its remote data archiving service, not aware that a bigger plan was being hatched to make New Zealand a market for remote data storage for northern hemisphere customers (see Data vault initiative moves ahead).
IT business strategist Gary Connolly, who is co-ordinating the national initiative, which had its genesis was the Knowledge Wave conference in Auckland in August, says when he heard about SouthNet’s databank he straight away got on the phone to SouthNet managing director Marc Cohen.
“He [Cohen] hadn’t heard about what we were doing, but said it was exactly what SouthNet was looking at,” Connolly says. “He said ‘can we be the Southland seat for this?’”
The nationwide initiative came out of a meeting between Auckland University staff, Trade New Zealand, several businesses and Telecom’s advanced solutions group, which is paying Connolly to co-ordinate the project.
He says the aim is to have remote data storage centres — that is, storage facilities located away from customers’ own business premises — situated away from New Zealand’s central business districts.
The September 11 terrorist attacks highlight the value of remote data storage, he says, adding that New Zealand’s ability to service northern hemisphere clients when it’s their night time makes us an even more attractive base.
“Revenue from data storage worldwide is in the billions and New Zealand should have a percentage of it.”
SouthNet and the other would-be providers are all Telecom customers, “but we’re not averse to talking to other providers”.
SouthNet’s Cohen says the company has been looking at remote data storage for two years and that it is a fairly recent phenomenon, made more widely available with the advent of DSL.
“Previously, for remote data storage, you needed frame relay or other expensive technology and it was used mainly by larger businesses and government entities. However, with the proliferation of high-speed internet services it has become more economic for smaller businesses.”
Data is sent automatically to the remote location, encrypted and then archived and can be uploaded by the customer if disaster strikes or there’s an equipment or systems failure.
Remote data hosts back up the data they house, effectively providing two layers of back-up, Cohen says.
He says pricing for the databank service is yet to be determined, but says in the US, fees for remote data storage start at $14.95 a month for small businesses and for larger organisations “the sky’s the limit.” Research company IDC predicts huge growth in the storage market in coming years.