Storage Technology (StorageTek) is targeting ISPs (internet service providers) and telecommunications companies in Asia as possible pioneers of a new internet business -- as providers of backup data storage for small and medium-sized enterprises.
StorageTek will offer its PowerBak servers directly to large corporate accounts in the region, but also hopes to find organisations which will offer backup as a remote service over the internet, according to Andy Srinivasan, managing director of StorageTek Asia.
"ISPs and telecommunications companies qualify as people who could provide this backup and restore service," he said.
"We are already at an advanced stage of negotiations with one company in this area."
PowerBak is a stand-alone server comprising a processor, OpenStorage 9150 hard disk arrays and 9730 automated tape library, which connects to a company's data centre and provides a mirror image of each client computer's hard drive.
Users unable to afford their own complete backup solutions or lacking the technical expertise to manage the facilities could outsource their backup to a PowerBak reseller for around $US12 per month per user, Srinivasan estimated. Backup for an ISP's customer could be as simple as accessing the service through the ISP's Web site, according to Srinivasan.
PowerBak is also aimed at remote users, whose laptops often carry critical company data which is at serious risk from theft, loss or damage, Srinivasan said.
Quoting an Ernst & Young survey, he said that over 348,000 laptops were reported stolen worldwide in 1998, and less than 4 per cent of users performed regular backups, although an estimated 50 per cent of laptop users run mission-critical applications.
PowerBak automatically performs full data backup while a remote user is online, replicating only files which have changed, to cut down on data transfer and make the service viable from a dial-up connection, Srinivasan said.
"The internet bandwidth is there, and now that it is possible to lease a laptop for $US50 a month, we think that people may well pay an extra $20 per month to keep their data backed up," he said.