I’ve written a lot lately about the need for cloud vendors to provide services that are tailored to specific countries or regions. Whether this is due to cross-cultural reasons or merely because of concerns around US located data, as a non US commentator I’m constantly talking with customers who want a service in their particular geography.
A piece of news lately spoke directly to vendors realizing and delivering on this requirement. While vendors tend to be downplaying the need for dispersed geographic offerings, they’re quietly partnering behind the scenes to make it happen.
Ninefold, an Australian public cloud provider who has recently rolled out an Australian located cloud storage service. Business Cloud Drive is a solution that is powered by Oxygen Cloud a company that can be described as bringing the functionality of a cloud collaboration service but with more flexibility around where data is stored. Oxygen has generally been used to build out private collaboration solutions but it this case it’s being used for a specifically geographically focused one. In discussing the need for the local solution, Australian site delimiter said that;
This style of ‘enterprise 2.0′ technology probably hasn’t been adopted as widely in Australia as countries like the US yet, purely because many organizations need their data to be maintained on-shore.
Yes – the very thing limiting uptake of some of these solutions is a requirement, be it regulated or merely perceptional, that data needs to be stored domestically. In relation to the connection between filesharing services and the risks introduced by US legislation such as the Patriot Act, Ninefold says that;
Ninefold host the Oxygen solution in a “private” capacity so Oxygen Cloud could not block access to customer data even if they wanted to – the whole schebang is run and hosted on Ninefold’s infrastructure in Macquarie Telecom’s Sydney based data centres. It’s no different to your organisation buying and running a NetApp, Dell or HP SAN – sold and supported by US companies but safely outside the reach of the Patriot Act.
Discussions in the back channel suggest that these sort of arrangements are happening more than people think. I’m aware of a number of examples of storage (and software for that matter) vendors who are offering their solution to third parties who then domicile it either privately or in some particularly located geography. Meanwhile a number of vendors such as OxygenCloud are quietly pitching their wares and differentiating themselves specifically on the fact that they are built to be portable.
The question here is whether the aggregate demands for public cloud services, be they box, Salesforce or whomever, drives the feasibility of much more granular locations of data storage before customer demands force vendors to move. I see to distinct graphs here – the first customer uptake for services, the second the distinct number of different geographies which have their own services – it’s the whitespace between those two curves that causes the tension between customer expectations and vendor offerings.
(Cross-posted @ The Diversity Blog - SaaS, Cloud & Business Strategy)