Steam Engine eyes compute service expansion

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Steam Engine eyes compute service expansion

Thousands of new servers in Sydney.

Steam Engine planned to deploy 3,000 more servers in Sydney next year to aid the expansion of its on-demand high performance compute service.

The Sydney company offered hosted infrastructure-as-a-service now but planned to offer storage, development platforms and software on demand in the future.

It targeted industries that had "bursts of process intensive applications" such as entertainment, media, geo-science, mining, biomedical and finance.

Steam Engine chief commercial officer Stefan Gillard said these businesses had "extreme peaks and troughs" in data and infrastructure demand, which made operating and managing in-house date centre facilities a financially unsound proposition.

He said Steam Engine has 1,000 servers online in the HarbourMSP data centre, with plans to deploy an additional 3,000 servers by 2011.

The company was launched by Frontline Systems managing director Steve Murphy and former OmniLab Media general manager of technology Stefan Gillard.

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.

Following its soft launch in March, Steam Engine had signed up customers in studios in Vancouver, Canada and was also negotiating with four potential customers in India, Gillard said.

The company is a separate entity from Frontline Systems but utilised Frontline's exiting engineers, vendor partners and Steam Engine's chief technology officer, Michael Chanter, who was also the general manager of consulting services at Frontline.

Steam Engine used kit from HP, Hitachi Data Systems, Arista Networks, Brocade and Microsoft.

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