Verizon Cloud Storage service lets customers choose data location

Verizon Cloud Storage offers on-demand capacity, lets firms place data in designated storage nodes, and provides an API to embed the service in Web and third-party apps.

Verizon Business, a unit of Verizon Communications Inc., this week launched its Verizon Cloud Storage service that gives customers on-demand storage capacity; the ability to isolate their data in one or more of Verizon's five storage locations; and an application programming interface (API) to embed the service in third-party applications, such as backup and Web solutions.

Patrick Verhoeven, manager of cloud services product management at Verizon Business, said the Storage-as-a-Service product is targeted at enterprises and mid-market companies that share data with customers, business partners, suppliers and the mobile workforce.

Verizon Business announced its cloud Computing as a Service (CaaS) in June 2009, and in April added enterprise-class features, including the ability for customers to isolate their cloud computing environment from the Internet.

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Verizon's cloud storage customers have their choice of five storage nodes to place their data. Amy DeCarlo, principal analyst for security and data center services at IT research and consulting company Current Analysis Inc., said that is an important feature for organizations wary of the cloud.

"In storage it's particularly important because of privacy and other regulatory issues to know where the data is in certain cases," DeCarlo said.

Verizon Business' Verhoeven said he believes cloud storage has not taken hold in the enterprise because IT managers aren't comfortable with the typical cloud data-location abstraction for business reasons and regulatory concerns.

"Enterprise customers want to know exactly where their data is," Verhoeven said. "And that's what our product provides."

Verizon is using the Nirvanix Inc. Storage Delivery Network (SDN) to house cloud storage data in five geographic nodes -- Los Angeles; Dallas; Secaucus, N.J.; Frankfurt, Germany; and Tokyo. Verizon has plans to build out its own global storage nodes in the second half of 2010 in the U.S., Europe and Asia. Verhoeven said having its own nodes will let Verizon provide customers with better performance and more secure network connections for the company's entire cloud service portfolio.

Verizon's Web portal allows IT administrators to provision capacity on demand and to create child accounts for business units to track storage needs and usage.

Verhoeven said he believes enterprise executives are realizing that tiered storage options, such as cloud storage, are one of the most cost-effective ways of dealing with explosive data growth and shrinking budgets. "More and more CIOs recognize that their commercial needs and technical needs can no longer be satisfied by a single or simplified storage solution," he said, "and that it's important to start adopting multitiered strategies."

The Verizon Cloud Storage service is primarily geared toward tier 2 and tier 3 data. "It's a good fit in environments that have light transactional requirements where you can afford to have a little bit of latency," Verhoeven said, "and it's primarily geared toward those customers who are concerned about storing large volumes of unstructured data."

Verizon Cloud Storage is priced according to storage volume and network bandwidth. Storage list pricing starts at $.25 per GB. Discounts are available depending on volume commitments and the number of data copies stored in the storage nodes. Network pricing is based on the bandwidth used to store and retrieve data. Verizon did not provide bandwidth pricing guidelines. Customers that sign up for Verizon's On-net storage nodes (once available) will not be charged network fees.

Current Analysis' DeCarlo said Verizon's cloud service is different than many enterprise cloud services because it is international in scope, which fits with Verizon's plans to sign up large organizations and compete with the likes of AT&T and British Telecom. "If you are trying to serve a multinational client base or an international client base, you really need to have a broader representation out of the gate," DeCarlo said.

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