Telecom stays out of data vault plan

Telecom says it is "keeping a watching brief" on plans for the establishment of a chain of secure data facilities but is not involved in the venture.

Telecom says it is “keeping a watching brief” on plans for the establishment of a chain of secure data facilities but is not involved in the venture.

And market researcher IDC warns of problems in the data storage market which may affect the data vaults’ take-off in New Zealand.

Telecom advanced solutions outsourcing manager Peter Bell says the telco “is not playing any role” in the scheme (see Hogg's head sought for data vault) being developed by a trust called Secure Data Vaults New Zealand.

Bell says Telecom has been supporting customer requirements for storage for 12 years, including back-up and disaster recovery services.

The telco sites are scattered in “small regional centres” across the country at an unspecified number of the 600 telephone exchanges.

However, Bell describes Telecom’s services as more mainstream and commercial, like those of IBM and Unisys, whereas the data vault initiative is more high-end, almost “military-level” security.

Telecom did not and would not offer such services, and whether it used them itself would be a matter for its outsourced systems provider EDS to consider, he says.

IDC Asia-Pacific storage research director Graham Penn says Australia saw a “bunch of ambitious plans” from various storage service providers (SSPs) but “most barely got off the ground”.

Many organisations were reluctant to let someone else handle their key data, preferring to keep it in their own internal control.

And the cost of piping the data from the business to the vault was often prohibitive, with telcos controlling both the public and dark fibre.

“The telcos made it their business to control the dark [unserviced] fibre,” he says.

While the major Australian cities have been “heavily wired all over the place, with lots of unused capacity”, Penn says it is still not cost-effective to use the networks.

“It’s a bizarre situation,” he says.

This has meant companies like Exodus and Global Cross effectively leaving the SSP market.

However, regardless of the “blockages”, Penn says the market for storage will have to grow.

Large firms will have the resources to handle it themselves, while smaller ones won’t and will have to see how and where they can obtain services. Organisations like health boards face legal requirements to store data.

The problem of latency will be a factor in use of remote storage sites.

Telecom’s Bell says line charges have not proved a deterrent to customers of its data facilities and neither has the issue of organisations trusting Telecom with their data.