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Data recovery specialist now Down Under

After ten years servicing Australian customers indirectly, Minnesota-based data recovery specialist Ontrack has decided to go local.A Brisbane laboratory opened for business today, ending the need to send damaged storage devices to Ontrack's various United States sites for data restoration.

After ten years servicing Australian customers indirectly, Minnesota-based data recovery specialist Ontrack has decided to go local.

A Brisbane laboratory opened for business today, ending the need to send damaged storage devices to Ontrack's various United States sites for data restoration. Adrian Briscoe, Ontrack Australia managing director, told ZDNet Australia with the new facility, the process will take between 24 hours and 48 hours.

While the company claims close links with a number of large Australian corporations, Briscoe said it targets all computer users from the "home user that has all their digital photos on one hard drive" to corporations with storage area networks.

The Queensland lab will aim to provide recovery from "virtually any operating system, storage or media type and cause of data loss", and can carry out recovery operations remotely, he added.

The company is increasing its headcount and Briscoe hopes to have a total of six engineers by year end. "Some will be sent to the US for training ... our main aim is to recruit as many people locally as we can," he said.

The expansion is part of a global move. The company opened an office in Toronto, Canada last month, and is fast expanding into eastern Europe and Russia while a facility launched in Poland recently. The Australian office will give Ontrack a presence in 18 different locations worldwide, with a total of 150 engineers.

The Brisbane office will aid in supporting the Asia-Pacific region, and Briscoe noted the city's close time zone to the burgeoning China and Hong Kong markets as an advantage.

A significant amount of business is conducted through business partners such as Dell and Hewlett-Packard, which use Ontrack to help resolve their own customer data woes.

Briscoe recounted one incident of an unusually frustrated customer: "A gentleman in the United States shot [with a shotgun] his notebook because he was so frustrated with it. Subsequently he decided he needed the data back."

The overwhelming majority of cases handled by Ontrack are caused by mechanical failure, followed by human error.

Globally, the data recovery business is worth about US$250 million per year. Briscoe wasn't prepared to indicate the value of the Australian market.