Dimension Data Joins Amazon, Rackspace With Three-Tiered Cloud Storage

Kevin Leahy

Global solution and services provider Dimension Data this week unveiled tiered storage capability across its global cloud, making the company one of only a handful of cloud storage providers worldwide able to offer three tiers of service.

Johannesburg, South Africa-based Dimension Data's new tiered cloud storage options for its Compute-as-a-Service offering lets customers take advantage of SLAs tailored for their applications, said Keao Caindec, CMO of the company's Cloud Solutions Business Unit.

The new three-tiered cloud storage service was unveiled at EMC World, which is being held this week in Las Vegas.

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The new tiered cloud storage service provides block-based storage that can be migrated between the three tiers on the fly, Caindec said.

"Customers can choose the right storage for their applications," he said. "For archiving, they might chose the economy tier. But if they are running a database, maybe the high-performance tier is best."

With the new service, based on EMC's midrange VNX storage technology, Dimension Data joins Amazon and Rackspace as the only providers of cloud storage based on three tiers. Caindec said most competitors offer at most two tiers.

Kevin Leahy, group general manager of data center solutions for Dimension Data, said performance of the three tiers differ in the various mixes of SSDs, 15,000-rpm hard drives and 7,200-rpm hard drives.

Despite the fact that EMC's VNX storage arrays are targeted mainly at midrange storage deployments, Dimension Data found them to be a good choice for tiered cloud storage, Leahy said.

The service requires direct-attached storage for the virtual machines a client deploys on the company's cloud-based block storage, and VNX offers the support needed now and into the foreseeable feature, he said.

"The key value here is the automation and user interface allowing clients to select appropriate tiers and then reassign them to a different tier through the life cycle of that [virtual] machine," he said. "The key to that level of automation and ease of use is exploitation of the rich storage controller in the VNX."

Pricing for the three different tiers varies according to the level of performance desired, Leahy said. The economy tier starts at 0.01 cents per GB of data per hour, or about 7 cents per GB of capacity per month. That is about 30 percent cheaper than what Amazon Web Services charges, he said.

The standard storage tier is priced at 0.03 cents per GB per hour, while the high-performance storage tier is priced at 0.06 cents per GB per hour, he said.