ON ACTIVE SERVICE: Integrating your storage data

ON ACTIVE SERVICE: Integrating your storage data

ARN: How did Integration Systems begin?Peter Warde, managing director Integration Systems: I founded the company nine years ago in Canberra. I was the branch manager for [an integrator] that designed a lot of solutions on Unix platforms. When they wrapped up the company I went around to my customers and said ‘hey do you want me to continue to service and maintain your sites?' and they said ‘yes'. So that's how it all started. I sold my house and founded the company right there.

What are Integration Systems' core competencies?I have taken the company through being a reseller of both HP and Sun platforms with a focus on data storage and being the exclusive distributor of Andataco. But our main emphasis now is data storage. We implemented the first SAN in Western Australia.

How does the company differentiate itself from its competition?We're now a systems integrator, designer, project manager, design specifier - we do the lot. And we don't have any specific affiliation with any particular vendors so we can implement industry-best practices with any solution we design. But its our in-house experience that differentiates us. I always employ system administrators. That's who we work with when we're dealing with our clients so that's who we have to be able to communicate with.

What is your target market?Our bread and butter clients are state governments, the Federal Government and large enterprises that have engineers and developers interested in infrastructure. We find our customers have an interest in information excellence and can recognise it in the solutions we propose. We really like designing solutions that are market leaders or will be market leaders, so they recognise there's a business advantage in being first.

Who are your key vendor partners?Ten months ago we sold off the distribution part of the business. In the enterprise market [where we operate] vendors sell direct to integrators and customers so we had to source the best products from the US and offer them to the local market. Around 10 months ago we sold off that part of the business to concentrate solely on consulting, design and implementation. We've got a full lab here, so we don't have to trust any of the vendor's claims - we test everything ourselves and we're not tied into a reseller agreement.

There's been a lot of talk in the industry about limited skills and poor SAN deployments. What is your view of the SAN market in Australia?There are some sites falling over, but there is also a lack of education. Even in NAS environments, the amount of knowledge required is quite high, but some people out there are buying SAN and NAS just like they would a bunch of disks, or like they're buying a kit home in Kellyville [developing suburb of Sydney]. You wouldn't buy a skyscraper in Kellyville; you'd sit down with the architect and plan before the first side of earth was even turned. Too much time is being spent in implementation mode and not enough time spent on design.

Integration Systems

Based: Sydney

Started: 1992

Number of staff: 10

Annual turnover: Between $4-7 million

Core competency: High-end data storage solutions for government and enterprise

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