Storage should be delivered as a service. That's what more and more suppliers are telling us, particularly the ones that would love to have dependable, recurrent revenue from their customers' opex budgets. It saves having to get sign-off on product sales requiring capex spend. Opex is thought an easier budget to raid.

The storage services message says it's nonsensical that SMEs should be building complex IT set-ups to provide shared and consolidated storage services to the SME's app servers. Enterprises are also told by vendors that the way to solve big-scale IT dep't woes is to buy IT, including storage, as a servrice.

I was told by one SME IT man that having to set up and manage his own storage was a right royal pain but, and it is a monumental but, when his apps access storage, there it is, right there in the IT room at the end of a wire with just one throat to choke if anything goes wrong - his.

It's not like that with his web site. That's hosted by a hoster who sub-contracts the hosting to a server farm who subcontracts network access to someone else. Nowhere in this three-layer set-up is there anyone who will give our SME guy a 99.999% web site service uptime guarantee.

Obviously not. There is no one operation running the whole thing from starter to dessert. So would he consider having access to storage needed by his app servers provided in the same way as the web site. No way. I have got to be kidding.

He might, 'might', think about storage as a remote service if it was affordable with a five nines service uptime guarantee. Six nines would be better.

This says to me that only large ISPs with control of their own infrastructure will be able to start offering storage as a service, because no one else will be trusted enough, or able, to deliver a reliable service.