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StorageNetworks Building Infrastructure to Offer Storage as Utility

A Waltham, Mass.-based startup is trying to build the infrastructure to turn the "storage as utility" concept into reality.

As an idea, heavy hitters such as Compaq Computer Corp. have postulated about a future for storage in which companies would plug their servers into the wall for storage just as they plug in power cords for electricity.

StorageNetworks Inc. (www.storagenetworks.com) today announced it is going to hire 250 storage, networking and datacenter professionals during the next year. Since being founded in September 1998 by former EMC Corp. (www.emc.com) and Andataco (www.andataco.com) employees, the company has picked up about 75 employees and has been locking down dark fibre leases around the country, says Tom Lahive, StorageNetworks director of marketing.

"We want to take the data storage management problem away," says Lahive, a former storage analyst with Dataquest (www.dataquest.com). "We'll install it, operate it and manage it."

Next month the company intends to open its first Storage Point-of-Presence (Storage-POP) in Houston. Throughout the summer and early fall, StorageNetworks plans Storage-POPs for New York, Boston, Chicago, Denver and San Jose. Subsequent plans call for Storage-POPs in Philadelphia, Washington, D.C., Atlanta and Seattle.

The approach takes advantage of fibre channel's ability to support storage connections over single-mode optical cable at distances up to 20 miles, to provide full duplex data rates of 200 MB/sec and to connect many computing and storage devices.

StorageNetworks sees the Storage-POP as a consolidated storage repository containing EMC disk and tape storage systems. Several Storage-POPs in a metropolitan area can be connected via Fibre Channel, while Storage-POPs in separate metropolitan areas will be connected via Fibre Channel to ATM bridges.

The company's initial subscription service offerings will provide a temporary virtual pool of off-site storage or a permanent off-site replication of data for disaster recovery situations.

StorageNetworks also plans to sell storage consulting services. -- Scott Bekker

About the Author

Scott Bekker is editor in chief of Redmond Channel Partner magazine.