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Service providers looking to offer cloud archiving services have the option of reselling or white-labeling existing cloud services or building a cloud themselves. For infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) providers like Pittsburgh-based Expedient Data Centers, it only makes sense to build the infrastructure.
"We differentiate ourselves in the market by owning the technology and doing it better than others," said John White, director of product strategy for Expedient, a managed and data center services provider. White acknowledged that Expedient Data Centers could have white-labeled or chosen a service to resell, "but they weren't going to hit the prices and availability we wanted to provide. … We've offered IaaS for 14 years, so this was not really that hard of a model for us to build."
White was involved with creating the business plan and researching and selecting the technology used for Expedient's cloud archiving services, Evermore. "We built the archiving infrastructure internally using third-party software and hardware. It's a system based off of the OpenStack project SwiftStack. The hardware is based off of all commodity storage." Expedient operates three data centers for two layers of redundancy. "You can have two data centers fail and still have archived data accessible to you," White said. Users interact with the platform via a web interface, API or gateway.
Archiving is one of three storage services Expedient offers. A high-end storage offering is designed for high-intensity application workloads and is sold per gigabyte, White said.
It also offers a "general, popular storage for virtual environments and cloud, which is the majority of what we do, also sold on a per-gig model. That can handle 80% of the workloads out there. Evermore is the low side in performance metrics. If you need very, very low storage frequency, you might as well pay for the lowest price possible, and that's where Evermore comes in," White said.
Like others, Expedient Data Centers began offering cloud archiving services in response to customer demand. "We had quite a few customers coming to us looking to store terabytes and petabytes of data, and traditional storage systems just can't handle that. We needed to build a system that would scale, as well as enable us to provide low-price storage for our customers," White said.
Expedient's cloud archiving services were only formally announced in mid-January, but the line of business already shows promise. All five companies that participated in a beta program have signed on as customers, and the service is frequently quoted to prospects. "We're seeing our customers starting to diversify their storage," White said. "We're seeing new use cases come up that we didn't think of. We are becoming a target for companies' backup environments. And we're talking to customers that we wouldn't normally have spoken to."
Learn about cloud archiving for cold and not-so-cold storage