Verizon to tie cloud storage with computing

The carrier will put storage nodes in large data centers around its global IP network

Verizon Business is set to announce a cloud-based storage service on Tuesday, leveraging the formidable Verizon Communications global data network as a draw for large enterprises to subscribe.

Starting in October, the company will launch storage facilities at Verizon data centers around the world. These facilities will be provided by cloud storage provider Nirvanix but will be located in the carrier's data centers, on its global IP network, said Patrick Verhoeven, manager of cloud services product marketing.

Verizon will get started on the offering in July by using Nirvanix's Storage Delivery Network, which is used for services sold wholesale by providers like Verizon. The five Nirvanix facilities will remain part of the offering, providing local access to storage in specific cities for customers that need it, Verizon said.

Many players are diving into the cloud-based storage business even as enterprises approach the concept warily because of worries about security, reliability and getting their data back. Storage vendors such as EMC have joined Amazon.com's S3 (Simple Storage Service) unit in building such offerings. Verizon said it can offer better value and faster access by combining network services with the storage capacity, all on a pay-as-you-go basis. The carrier already has a cloud backup service for transactional data, called Managed Data Vault. The new offering is designed more for unstructured data, according to Verizon.

Because the data centers are on Verizon's global IP network, customers will be able to get access to their data with fewer network "hops" and the security of Verizon's infrastructure, Verhoeven said. The cloud storage capacity will also be located in the same data centers with Verizon's cloud computing resources, with fast internal links between them, so the carrier can create a more complete cloud service for enterprises that want it.

Customers of the storage service will be able to reach their stored data using a variety of tools, including application programming interfaces, third-party applications and backup agents, and via standard CIFS (Common Internet File System) and NFS (Network File System), Verizon said. They will be able to manage the service, including moving data between Nirvanix and Verizon data centers, via a browser-based portal.

Alongside the cloud-based storage service, Verizon is introducing a suite of consulting services, Verizon Data Retention Services, to help customers develop storage policies and practices that fit their business objectives.

Prices for cloud storage, based on usage, will begin at US$0.25 per gigabyte per month and go down with greater volume. The first nodes on Verizon's network, in San Jose, California, and Beltsville, Maryland, will go live in the U.S. in October. European facilities in London, Paris, Amsterdam and Stockholm will start up later in the fourth quarter, and as yet unnamed sites in the Asia-Pacific region will start early next year.

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