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Artisan Infrastructure intros cloud storage platform for service providers

Artisan Infrastructure looks to level the cloud storage services playing field with a platform priced to compete with Google, Amazon, Rackspace, etc.

Wholesale IaaS company Artisan Infrastructure today introduced a cloud storage platform that is priced to beat the competition -- Amazon Web Services Inc., Rackspace Inc., Google Inc., Hewlett-Packard Co. and Dell Inc. -- by up to 70%.

According to Brian Hierholzer, CEO of Austin, Texas-based Artisan Infrastructure, the company's wholesale business model enables large and, in particular, small managed service providers (MSPs), cloud service providers, value-added resellers (VARs) and systems integrators to build out a cloud services business that's competitive with bigger telcos and service providers.

"We level the playing field so that service providers have a network matching the largest IaaS [Infrastructure as a Service] providers in the market," he said.

Today's announcement introduces what Artisan said is the industry's first widely available wholesale cloud storage solution that's fully compatible with Amazon Web Services (AWS) S3 application programming interfaces. To drive success of the cloud storage offering, the company has an infrastructure cloud storage ecosystem, or software solutions from a range of vendors, that can be leveraged against the new storage service for use in cloud storage service offerings. The ecosystem includes products in the areas of storage gateways, file sync and share, and disaster recovery (DR), and can be run on Artisan Infrastructure's platform.

For example, storage gateways companies include Twin Strata, Maldivica, Gladinet and MoonWalk; file-sync and -share companies include Anchor, Mezeo, Vembu SynchBlaze and Ctera; and DR software companies include PHD Virtual, Vembu StorGrid and DR Software -- with more to be added in the near future, according to Artisan.

Hierholzer said that once a customer reaches 100 terabytes of consumption, pricing is 2.9 cents per gigabyte.

On Aug. 15, Artisan began a free public beta trial that will cap at the first 1,500 sign-ups. There are currently 750 service providers in the trial. The free unlimited beta trial allows service providers to upload as much data as they choose.

Privately held Artisan was founded in 2010 as a wholesale-only IaaS platform -- for service providers only -- to enable MSPs, cloud service providers, systems integrators, VARs, SaaS providers, PaaS providers and telcos to compete in the cloud. Hierholzer calls the company "the Switzerland of IaaS."

Artisan does not build solutions; it sells IaaS, including its new cloud storage platform. The company does not have a channel partner program; its customers have channel programs.

"Our ecosystem brings service providers together with ISV [independent software vendor], SaaS and PaaS providers. They leverage existing resources in our environment that are built on Artisan and have channel or white-label programs," Hierholzer explained.

CA Technologies, Asigra, Desktone and WatchGuard are examples of ISVs in Artisan's broader ecosystem. Some channel-focused solution providers in the company's solution provider ecosystem are Docuwise (a turnkey managed print solution exclusively distributed through VARs and IT service providers), and Independence IT and Virtual Qube, both channel-only Desktop as a Service (DaaS) providers.

To help drive the success of its service provider customers, Artisan is putting its money where its mouth is by offering market development funds to help customers build their cloud practices. One Artisan customer leverages the funds for its monthly lunch-and-learn events for clients and prospective customers. This particular MSP offers cloud data backup, DaaS and hosted Voice over Internet Protocol services.

According to Hierholzer, Artisan partners with best-of-breed companies for equipment, data centers, connectivity and regulatory compliance. Its sole focus is providing wholesale IaaS to help its customers compete in the cloud.

"We're the behind-the-scenes folks that don't have any interest in building our brand. We want customers to build their brand," he said.

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