A start up plans to rent out data storage space on its network on an as required basis and to help customers set up fail safe storage networks on their own sites.
Storagenetworks? precept is that customers would prefer to rent capacity as their data storage needs increase rather than constantly upgrade their internal systems, and according to Tom Lahive, Storagenetwork?s director of marketing and a former Dataquest analyst, the company expects the rental system to go live by the middle of this year.
Although the network is still in the early stages of development, it is scheduled to have 15 points of presence (POP) in major US cities by the end of 2000. The first POP has already gone live in Houston, Texas, and the next is planned for New York.
The secure sites will house disk drives, backup systems, robotic tape libraries and other storage resources, and are aimed primarily at Unix and Windows NT users. Customer sites will be supplied with SNI plugs or switches, which provide them with access to their POP via fibre channel technology, but data will be kept on separate storage devices at the POP location, which means customers can request more or less storage capacity on the fly.
Storagenetworks claims that customers can access stored data from POPs found up to 20 miles away as quickly as from local networks and that they can be linked to POPs from hundreds of miles away using fiber optic extenders.
Industry analysts described Storagenetworks' plan as intriguing, but were doubtful as to who would use the service.
Dave Hill, an analyst at Aberdeen Group, said he could see customers using it to test new storage equipment before buying it, but wondered if renting would really be less expensive than buying.
And Anders Lofgren, an analyst at Giga Information Group, said the firm?s biggest challenge may be convincing customers that their data is secure.
Bill Miller, Storagenetworks chief technology officer, who formed the company with former EMC executive Peter Bills, attested, however, that the company would use security guards, video cameras, and hand print recognition technology at its POPs.
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