ON ACTIVE SERVICE: Not plug-and-play just yet

ON ACTIVE SERVICE: Not plug-and-play just yet

ARN: How did DNS come into being?

Maratos: DNS was formed at the beginning of 1995, I guess as a venue for three colleagues to start contracting or consulting rather than being employees.

What are your company's core competencies?

Today they'd have to be basically storage and backup at an enterprise level - predominantly Fibre Channel storage.

What products or vendors do DNS typically use or do you remain vendor independent?

It's two-fold. We try to remain vendor independent in terms of recommending or designing the best solution for the end user, but in the same vein we also import a couple of different vendors' products, one of them being nStor Technologies, a US-based SAN company. The other is Dot Hill Business Corporation which is also based in the US. Both are storage manufacturers and make their own RAID controllers and storage subsystems.

How does DNS differentiate itself from the competition?

I guess the most obvious way is that we're not a marketing company. We don't have any sales or marketing staff, we rely entirely on our technical ability and word of mouth to get business.

What is your target market?

We don't have any single market that we target, although predominately we've been in the telco and finance sectors. With our recent sale into Colour Solutions, we've been moving into the pre-press or graphic design area, and have since picked up a lead in Western Australia, also in the multimedia arena.

What are your company's key business challenges?

The most difficult thing for us is getting known throughout the market place. Because we're not a marketing company, we tend to not be widely known and no one recognises the name. So that's probably the biggest obstacle.

How do you stay abreast of the changes in the industry, and how hard is it to stay in touch?

We read a lot of the trade publications, including the Fibre Channel Industry Association and other media, to see what they're doing and what they're reporting as directions of the industry. We also look at IDC, reporting on problems resellers or integrators are having in their areas.

Everything is changing so quickly and it is very difficult to stay ahead of the technology. So I guess that's why we look at a lot of what the journals and manufacturers are doing in terms of the products they're releasing. We try to read up on all the press releases they send out and look at their Web sites to see what the technical size of their products are.

There's been a lot of talk in the industry about limited skills and poor SAN deployments, what is your view of the future of SANs in Australia?

I think there is a lot of work that still needs to be done. Despite the bad publicity SANs have had, I believe it is still a viable technology when implemented correctly. Unfortunately there has been a push from some of the distributors [in the market] to make it more of a turn-key or plug-and-play solution, which it really isn't at this stage.

There are customers who are being caught in the middle by these unskilled people who come in and assume that it is plug-and-play when they really don't know what they're doing. And I think that's giving the whole industry, or the technology, the bad name.

Distributed Network Services

Based: Glen Iris, Victoria

Started in: 1995

Number of staff: 7

Annual turnover: 1.5 million (last year) Services: -Storage, backup, Fibre Channel arrays

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