StorageTek trumpets storage outsourcing plan

Companies will save money by renting storage capacity rather than buying it, StorageTek officials said last week while announcing one of the first storage outsourcing programs of its kind.

Dubbed Storage Utility, the program allows customers to pay as little as $US1 per megabyte, per month, for the disk or tape storage they use.

With Storage Utility, users can choose from an assortment of disk, tape, backup and restore, and storage-area network (SAN) utility programs.

Musical content supplier RedDotNet is building a large repository of music and other digital content that it will distribute to retail stores. "The amount of storage we need as we start to build this network is in the many terabytes range," says Ray Alford of RedDotNet in Carlsbad, California. "We have projected the amount of storage we will use over time. StorageTek allows that amount to change depending on demand and lets us grow on an as-needed basis."

After an onsite analysis, StorageTek installed, configured and now manages the storage resources at RedDotNet. StorageTek will also lease remote storage to customers through partnerships with carriers and ISPs, such as Frontier GlobalCenter, Atrieva and WebVision.

Leasing storage as a utility is a relatively new concept. Start-up Storage Networks has a concept similar to StorageTek's, one that relies on reserves of storage in private storage points-of-presence. Storage Networks will also provide in-house storage and consulting services on a subscription basis.

"Small and mid-size businesses in particular will benefit from StorageTek's Storage Utility because they do not have the policies and procedures in place to manage their quickly increasing storage requirements," says Dave Hill, an analyst with Aberdeen Group in Boston. "StorageTek is focusing on an area that has been neglected before."

The Storage Utility contains:

A Disk Utility, which lets network managers acquire as much disk storage as they want and return extra storage.

Two tape utilities, one that leases tape storage and one that lets customers back up data to a remote tape library that is shared with other companies.

A Backup and Restore Utility, in which StorageTek designs and implements a backup operation, and executes backups and restores regularly.

A SAN Utility, in which StorageTek provides a Fibre Channel switch between the customer and its storage devices, allowing for faster transfer of data and alleviating traffic on the net.

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