By Kevin Komiega
-- Iron Mountain's technology arm, Iron Mountain Digital, has announced the Virtual File Store service, a cloud-based storage offering for file archiving.
The Virtual File Store service provides secure, long-term storage of inactive data at off-site data centers and is aimed at users looking to avoid the hefty upfront expenses typically associated with purchasing in-house archiving hardware.
As part of the Virtual File Store service, Iron Mountain Digital provides an on-site appliance that acts like a file server. Files stored on the appliance are automatically sent to Iron Mountain's data centers and, from there, are continuously replicated to a secondary site for disaster recovery purposes.
"We provide an on-site appliance that looks like a file server, exporting CIFS and NFS shares. It's like a storage device with virtually unlimited capacity, but there is no storage in the appliance itself," says Steve Blumenau, vice president of technology, digital archiving, at Iron Mountain Digital. "The capacity behind the appliance is actually at our Iron Mountain data centers."
The appliance supports any client operating system or application that can access data on CIFS/NFS file systems and supports all types of inactive data, including e-mail, databases, Microsoft Office files, .PDFs, logs, and multimedia in industry-standard file formats.
Blumenau adds that the appliances are available in various configurations, each equipped with cache memory in different capacities (250GB, 2TB, and 4TB) for storing recently- accessed files.
The Virtual File Store can be integrated with a customer's existing storage infrastructure to migrate inactive files over the VPN to Iron Mountain's redundant data centers. Authorized users and applications can then retrieve files on-demand via a secure Internet connection.
Virtual File Store appliances also support retention periods and WORM (write-once, read-many) capabilities for regulatory compliance.
Iron Mountain Digital claims that as much as 60% of all corporate data is inactive and bogs down storage administrators. Blumenau believes the exponential growth of inactive file data coupled with the economic climate will prompt more organizations to outsource file archiving.
"Everybody is under pressure to cut budgets, but storage keeps growing. Storage as a service does not require a large capital outlay," says Blumenau. "A pay-as-you-go model gives users more control over what they pay. If they store more data, they pay more. If they delete data, they pay less."
Iron Mountain Digital does not disclose pricing for its storage services, but there are three components included in the cost: a one-time installation and professional services fee, a rental fee for the appliance, and a monthly per-gigabyte capacity fee. The price also includes around-the-clock monitoring, management and maintenance.