Called StorageXtend, the solution combines EMCs networked storage systems and remote replication software with Nortel Networks Optical Metro 3500 SONET technology, WilTel Protected Private Line service and virtual concatenation. It was tested over WilTels nationwide SONET network to ensure interoperability with EMC and Nortel Networks Business Continuity Over Optical Networks solution.
The service allows organizations to converge their LAN and SAN (storage-area network) application traffic over the same SONET access facility with full application isolation, according to Al Lounsbury, senior manager of storage solutions at Brampton, Ontario-based Nortel.
By using this solution, organizations that may not have been able to implement network-based business continuity, disaster recovery, server and storage consolidation for cost reasons may be now able to do so.
"In the past, an IT manager looking at a storage networking solution would have to make a decision on how much bandwidth they wanted to buy upfront," said Paul Savill, director of data services at New York-based WilTel.
"If they planned to grow to an OC12s worth of bandwidth between two locations over a period of year but werent going to fill that pipe completely in the first six or nine months, they would be paying for a lot of bandwidth they werent using."
Alternatively, the company could choose to buy bandwidth in several small increments in circuits that were spread out, possibly between multiple carriers, which would not allow them to fully optimize the bandwidth traveling between the two locations, he said.
With StorageXtend, "we allow them to get pipes to the edge of our network," Savill said. "Well provision that bandwidth for them between those locations in 50-megabit levels of granularity, and well make all the bandwidth coterminus. They can size it up and down as they need bandwidth or as their needs diminish over time."
The services unique pricing model can save companies money in several ways, according to Savill. By avoiding paying for unused bandwidth, Savill estimates that companies can save 25 percent to 50 percent over traditional methods. And because WilTel and Nortel also offer to purchase the equipment needed by the customer and charge them a monthly fee to use it, there is no capital outlay up front.
The flexible pricing may be especially appealing to companies with fluctuating needs, said Counse Broders, principal analyst at Current Analysis Inc. of Sterling, Va.
"Being able to take it up and down could be useful, especially for customers with variable business demands throughout the year where they need to scale up some months and scale down in others," Broders said.
WilTels ability to build Fibre directly to the customers premises—something Savill said is generating quite a bit of interest because it provides greater control over the reliability of end-to-end service—also holds much promise, he said.
"The fact that they are offering this build-out service is an interesting step because a lot of companies have been relying on local access providers to do that final mile, but doing it that way can be very expensive," Broders said.