Optus has announced a new IP storage offering which it proclaims is the first fully managed online data storage product to hit the Australian market.
EXPAN IP Storage, available from April, uses iSCSI technology to link a customer’s IP-based network to an off-site storage repository.
In contrast to proprietary-based fibre channel technology, iSCSI (Internet Small Computer Systems Interface) is an IP protocol which uses existing Ethernet cabling to transmit data. iSCSI was ratified by the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) last year and is increasingly being utilised within SAN solutions by storage vendors such as Cisco Systems, Network Appliance and Adaptec.
Market analysts, including IDC and the Yankee Group, have predicted iSCSI will grow into a mainstream storage technology over 2005, propelled by the needs of the mid-range business market.
In a press statement, Optus Business managing director Peter Kaliaropoulos said the IP-based storage solution would offer customers “lower disk capacity utilisation and fewer points of storage management”.
In addition: “Optus EXPAN IP Storage runs on ubiquitous and familiar IP networks therefore minimal training of existing personnel is required to support it”, he said.
Kaliaropoulos said once the stored data was IP compatible, customers could run it over their local area network (LAN) or wide area network (WAN).
According to an Optus spokesperson, the telco had historically offered solutions for a little under $40 per GB. With the new EXPAN IP solution, Optus can now offer storage for between $10 and $20 per GB, including network access and firewalls, the spokesperson said.
The EXPAN solution was developed and tested by Optus in conjunction with storage services provision partner Hitachi Data Systems, channel partner SecureData Group and network provider Cisco Systems.
The solution will be available from Optus directly, and will be supported by the telco’s storage consulting services and technical support team. Storage connection speeds will start from 10Mbps and upwards for smaller clients, with high performance clients accessing the storage repository at connection speeds of 100Mbps and upwards.
EXPAN IP Storage is one of several business products launched by Optus in recent months utilising IP technology. The telco also launched a VoIP service called Optus IP Centrex targeted at SMEs in November 2003.