AT&T Corp. has added long-distance replication to its managed storage services and will add e-mail archiving and agnostic device management later this year, said officials of the telecommunications company.
The moves come as users increasingly seek advanced business continuity services because of new legal requirements and terrorism threats. Those users, however, are often skittish as a result of the demise of many stand-alone storage service providers and the high cost of elite disaster recovery specialists, experts say.
StorageConnect, available now, gives enterprises network access for linking geographically dispersed data centers, even for non-AT&T hosting customers, said Bernie McElroy, vice president of business continuity and high-availability services, in Bedminster, N.J. "It includes bandwidth, equipment and management. We do have proactive, end-to-end management," McElroy said.
AT&T uses storage switches from Brocade Communications Systems Inc. and McData Corp. and WAN switches from Cisco Systems Inc. and Computer Networking Technology Corp., officials said. The network can use protocols such as Enterprise Systems Connection and Fibre Connect and perform data compression. "Primarily, they are asynchronous, [because] synchronous has challenges relative to distance. Wed have to do some professional services evaluation," said Kassie Kesner, product director for AT&Ts managed storage services. Customers opting for long-distance, synchronous connections will get slower Gigabit Ethernet speeds to maintain service-level agreements, Kesner said.
Rama Prabhala, Unix systems engineer at Forest Pharmaceuticals Inc., in St. Louis, expressed a need for distributed data replication but isnt sold on AT&T as the appropriate supplier. "We have a T-1 line between New York and this location," Prabhala said.
But everythings done in-house using Sun Microsystems Inc.s storage and Veritas Software Corp.s NetBackup software.
Of AT&Ts services, "Im not sure ... because they have no expertise in storage management. I think its a very difficult decision," Prabhala said. Forest will likely choose from Veritas replication products to help meet the needs of its publicly owned parent, he said.