Compact Zellabox keeps vital data close to home

04/11/2014 - 15:52


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A WA computer manufacturing business has been shortlisted in an international energy saving competition.

Compact Zellabox keeps vital data close to home
COMPACT AND COOL: Clinton Keeler (right) and chief operating officer Angie Keeler believe Zellabox is ideal for businesses that want to retain data onsite. Photo: Attila Csaszar

A WA computer manufacturing business has been shortlisted in an international energy saving competition.

Does the advent of cloud computing mean the noisy office server room will become a thing of the past?

Does the hosting of data offsite in purpose-built centres) suit everyone’s needs, and what about companies that still want to retain some critical data onsite?

A Western Australian business has applied itself to these questions over the past five years, and has been developed a solution – a micro data centre called Zellabox.

“Paradoxically, cloud computing has helped us,” Zellabox founder and managing director Clinton Keeler told Business News.

“(Because) although companies are sending more and more information off into the cloud, they realise that some core data must reside in the office. They may not need a large three metre by three metre server room anymore, but our boxes fit the bill perfectly.”

The Zellaboxes are sleek, dark and quiet and are about the size of a refrigerator.

“They can be put almost anywhere in an office … right next to the reception desk if needs be,” Mr Keeler said.

“The units can be wheeled around and can move with you to your next office. They are self sealed and secure. The cooling system only has to cool a small space, keeping the unit at the perfect temperature, so overall it uses far less energy. ”

Mr Keeler claims they can lower operating costs by 30 per cent compared with traditional office servers.

This claim has led to recognition overseas, with the company being made a finalist in the Royal Bank of Scotland’s ‘innovation gateway’ competition, which seeks the best office ideas from around the world that reduce energy, water and waste.

Zellabox is the only Australian innovation to have made it through to the final 15 of 140 submissions, and will take part in a Dragons Den-style pitch competition in London on November 10.

The best ideas will then be tested in RBS’s 2,500 buildings and branches around the UK.

RBS head of corporate services John Hayes said the RBS estate was a diverse mixture of more than 2,500 buildings, from retails units to data centres.

“The business issue we’ve had over the last 10 years is the huge increase in energy costs, more than doubling and forecast to carry on,” he said.

Zellabox is doing its bit to lift the state’s manufacturing sector, with its units custom made in the factory in Osborne Park.

“We have 60 units deployed throughout the world, with one being used to secure data for the recent Chilean elections. We have them in hot mine sites, dusty manufacturing plants and clean professional offices,” Mr Keeler said.

The company exports via local distributors to Latin America and Singapore, and is looking to expand to the US and Europe.

Mr Keeler funded his startup with money from his former business, SkyShots, which serviced Perth’s booming real estate industry of the past decade.

The company has attracted recent investment from the corporate adviser and business accelerator Glaciei, whose directors, Jane Garrett and Greg Riebe, are well known investors in Perth’s startup community and have also joined as board members.

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• Charlie Gunningham is an internet entrepreneur and is the chief operating officer of Business News.



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