S'pore's network storage gets a boost from the big boys

The Economic Development Board of Singapore (EDB) and 10 of the world's leading storage players have come together to help promote and develop the island's network storage industry.

SINGAPORE--The Economic Development Board of Singapore (EDB) and 10 of the world's leading storage players have come together to help promote and develop the island's network storage industry.

Set up under the auspices of the EDB's Local Industry Upgrading Program (LIUP), the Open Storage Networking LIUP aims to "address the manpower needs of the companies as well as build a pool of skilled network storage manpower", said EDB chairman Teo Ming Kian at the signing ceremony this morning.

The 10 founding members are Brocade Communications Systems (Asia Pacific), Cisco Systems Singapore, Compaq Computer Asia (Singapore), EMC South Asia, Hewlett-Packard Singapore, IBM Singapore, Maxtor Peripherals Singapore, Network Appliance Inc, Sun Microsystems Singapore and Veritas Software Corp Asia South.

Besides lending their support to the program, all 10 members will help develop the six-level syllabus, with locally-based Data Storage Institute (DSI) as the moderator and course coordinator.

When asked how the program would impact on some of the the players' existing training centers, most of the members agreed that demand for skilled network storage specialists far exceeded the supply, and that the program would provide the broad-based training on which companies could develop specialized training.

By meeting this demand, they hope to be able to promote and expand the market.

"The fact is, we can't do it alone...Our own training programs and our university education aren't sufficient...And there's always (the risk that) we train them up only to be poached by someone else," quipped HP Singapore & Southeast Asia managing director Chia Wee Boon.

"At the end of the day, many of the best brains are found in private-sector companies, not the universities...so it pays to collaborate," added Pushpasish Mallick, director of Integrated Marketing and Sales Support for EMC South Asia.

The three-phase program involves developing the industry preparation course, rolling out the training courses to the members and their preferred vendors, and then to other companies here. Also on the cards is an InterOperability Lab for the Open Storage Networking LIUP.

In the first year, the program aims to increase the pool of skilled network storage manpower here by around 50 engineers. "Fifty is a comfortable figure to start off with. If need be, we can increase that number," said DSI director Dr Chong Tow Chong.

Chong expects the syllabus to be ready in three months, with the first course commencing in six to nine months.