Telco Storage Heats Up

Vendors see carriers as hot 2005 storage market

December 7, 2004

3 Min Read
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Storage companies are hoping to cash in big next year on the trend among telco and cable providers to offer backup services, both in the data center and on individual PCs.

Connected, an Iron Mountain Inc. (NYSE: IRM) subsidiary, has been courting carriers with its PC backup services for close to two years. According to Connected's VP of strategic partnerships, Archie Miller, interest in backup services is finally taking off worldwide.

Connected now counts Deutsche Telekom AG (NYSE: DT ) and Canadian telcos Bell Canada and Telus Corp. (NYSE: TU; Toronto: T) as customers. Belgium telco Belgacom (Euronext: BELG) also announced last week it is using Connected software for its PC backup service for DSL customers (see Iron Mt.'s Connected to Belgacom).

Miller says DSL providers have placed more emphasis on backup and protection than cable companies, which have been more concerned with services like video on demand. But he thinks cable companies are getting interested quickly.

Allies of Connected see an uptick of interest, too. EMC Corp. (NYSE: EMC) joined with Connected last June to offer the EMC Proven Solution for PC backup to a range of customers (see EMC & Connected Announce Backup). Kay Benaroch, EMC telecommunications solutions development manager, says carriers now are prime prospects.Every carrier we meet with is requesting information about what other carriers are doing with backup,” she says. “It’s a huge area of interest. We foresee a pipeline in 2005.”

EMC and Connected actually worked together in landing Bell Canada and Deutsche Telekom before striking a formal partnership. The carriers use Connected’s data protection software to back up and encrypt files through their network services onto EMC Clariion and Centera systems.

Another Connected partner, Arsenal Digital Solutions Worldwide Inc., also notices more telco interest in backup services. Arsenal last month announced enterprise data protection partnerships with KVH Telecom Co. Ltd. of Japan and of Guatemala (see Arsenal Reaches Out to Japan and Arsenal Partners With

Carriers’ interest in backup is focused heavily on smaller companies and divisions of larger ones. “SMBs are finding two things,” Miller says. “First, they have a lot of stuff on PCs they care about. Second, there’s been enough things happening in the world where they worry, ‘If something bad happens, all this stuff goes away.’ ”

With new compliance requirements and a rapid increase in unstructured data, more and more companies are looking to their carriers for backup, according to Benaroch.For their part, carriers are looking for backup services to make up for declining voice revenues, and they are in position to take advantage of improvements they’ve made to their bandwidth infrastructures in recent years.

It hasn't always been this way. Until recently, carriers were minimally interested in promoting storage services of any kind. The exception was AT&T Corp. (NYSE: T), which has been at the forefront of U.S. carriers offering storage services (see AT&T to Nurse Blue Cross Data). AT&T uses EMC storage for its email archiving service aimed at helping companies deal with compliance, and turns to Arsenal for a data center replication service.

Arsenal sees this kind of replication service as key to its future. Indeed, PC backup is viewed as just a foot in the door that could lead to Arsenal's providing more enterprise service for carriers.

“That’s only the entrée,” Arsenal’s marketing director Steve Siegel says of PC backup services. “Replication is next. We’re seeing more deals around backup right now, and fewer, but larger, deals around replication.”

— Dave Raffo, Senior Editor, Byte and Switch0

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