Is Telstra eyeing the storage market?

Is Telstra eyeing the storage market?

Telstra may be positioning itself as an outsourcer of storage applications for Web-centric companies.

Telstra Retail group managing director Ted Pretty is now in the US, visiting EMC Corp, a US$8 billion storage specialist and long-time Telstra supplier. EMC runs a program that provides expertise to companies seeking to outsource storage applications for Web-oriented businesses.

An EMC Australia spokeswoman confirmed that Pretty was talking with EMC chairman Mike Ruettgers and CEO Joe Tucci. However, she labelled reports that say their discussions centre on helping Telstra become a storage service provider (SSP) as "complete hearsay".

Pretty is among a number of Australian customers on a week-long "Internet mission" - a regular EMC program for giving technology briefings to top clients, the spokeswoman said. The missions cover multiple issues and Telstra's presence doesn't necessarily correlate with an SSP focus, she said.

However, other industry sources claimed there was a linkage. SSPs are service providers that specifically host storage applications. They provide managed storage capacity and related services on a cents-per-megabyte basis.

SSPs cater to Web-centric customers and can resell their services through Internet access service providers. That model lends itself itself well to Telstra's position as a wholesaler of services to ISPs.

EMC's xSPerience program sells infrastructure expertise to SSPs as well as ISPs and application service providers. In Australia, EMC has not signed any xSPerience customers; however, the senior EMC executive in charge of the program, Bill Nelson, coincidentally was in Australia last week and predicted the company would have clients here by the end of the year.

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