Compaq offers private storage utility

Compaq Computer Corp., Houston, Texas, announced today the availability of storage as a utility through the Compaq Private Storage Utility. Similar to utilities that provide electricity or water, this private storage utility model allows users to treat storage as a monthly expense rather than a capital expenditure.

Although the hardware and software reside at the user sites, the customer does not own either the software or the hardware. Compaq basically rents both to the user, along with installation and management services. "Whatever the customer would have to buy for the conventional storage method still sits at the customer site, but they don't own it," said Rich Avis, director of Compaq's storage networks solutions business unit in Shrewsbury, Mass.

Anticipating security concerns, Compaq said it developed the model so the storage remains at the customer site. "Their data doesn't leave the building," said Avis. From a remote location, Compaq watches usage levels, monitors performance and adds additional storage when necessary. This is offered at what Compaq is calling a dollar per gigabyte per month usage pricing model.

With a few exceptions, the service, software and hardware all come from Compaq. The infrastructure is a combination of Compaq StorageWorks hardware, SANworks software, Compaq Professional Services and Compaq Financial Services. Compaq is also using management software from HighGround Systems, Inc. in Marlborough, Mass. According to Avis, this is the first time five divisions in Compaq have pulled together to deliver a service program. The groups began working on this six months ago.

The basic service package includes storage capacity, assessment/design, site preparation review, installation, configuration, startup, remote management, capacity management, performance management and warranty and maintenance. Additional optional service packages include backup/restore management and enhanced response service � a two-hour service response. Later this year, Compaq will offer remote copy services and local copy services.

Compaq also has a public utility model, which provides storage services offsite. Multiple customers share the same storage infrastructure. However, the vendor does not intend to be a public utility provider. It will only offer this service through partnerships.

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