Frontline Systems managing director Steve Murphy and former OmniLab Media general manager of technology Stefan Gillard have launched a new IT services company called Steam Engine.
Sydney-based Steam Engine currently offers hosted infrastructure-as-a-service with plans to offer storage, development platforms and software on demand.
The company claims it provides "on-demand high performance computing" for industries that have "bursts of process intensive applications" such as the entertainment and media industry, geo-science, mining, biomedical and finance.
Steam Engine chief commercial officer Stefan Gillard said these businesses have "extreme peaks and troughs" in data and infrastructure demand, which makes operating and managing in-house date centre facilities a financially unsound proposition.
He said Steam Engine has 1,000 servers online, with plans to deploy an additional 3,000 servers by 2011.
Gillard recently finished building the IT infrastructure for Dr D Studios, an Australian company managing digital effects for the sequel to the animation film Happy Feet. He said his time there highlighted an opportunity to build Steam Engine to meet the needs of the Australian film and television industry.
"That lays the seed for starting Steam Engine and going after, initially, visual effects companies in Australia," he said. "Now is a very fortuitous time to embark on the infrastructure or IT as a service, not only in Australia" but to global customers, he said.
Following its soft launch in March, Steam Engine has customers in studios in Vancouver, Canada and is also negotiating with four potential customers in India, Gillard said.
The company is a separate entity from Frontline Systems but utilises Frontline's exiting engineers, vendor partners and Steam Engine's chief technology officer, Michael Chanter, who is also the general manager of consulting services at Frontline.
Steam Engine has partnership with existing Frontline vendors HP, Hitachi Data Systems, Arista Networks, Brocade and Microsoft for its infrastructure services which are hosted in the Harbour MSP data centre - another Frontline company.
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Issue: 315 | May 2013
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