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The network access infrastructure

Storage is not the most important component of a SaaS offering; the network is.

Redstor is extending its data centre infrastructure for its SaaS offering, using co-location facilities. It is going to open two new data centres, one in the City and one in Slough, with about 700TB of Atmos hardware capacity. It won't put this Atmos hardware in Reading because of network limitations. A storage cloud service needs lower latency than backup, so Reading is going to be the backup data centre.

Redstor will in effect have a storage grid opening in January with three data centres - initially. Ruane said: "We'll follow our customers to Europe and will build out in a scalable way rather than buying loads of kit." In the second quarter of next year Redstor will be opening data centres in France and Germany. It has crafted a deal with a German ISP so that German customer data need not leave Germany. A similar arrangement exists in France."

There are three ways in to this grid: "The first way is basic Internet," Ruane said. "The second way is to cross connect and the third way is business grade Internet with low latency. We are partnering with a network company to do that, and will offer virtual MPLS connections; offering 100meg links for not much money.

"To offer business-grade cloud storage you have to solve the latency problem We have become an ISP which means we're in the club, the LINX club of ISPs, and can peer to other ISPS securely, like TeleCity and Global Crossing. This solves the latency problem and increases security."

Ruane says Redstor is going to Colos and hosting providers and saying: "Connect to me and use some of our storage and do it tomorrow."

"We've written portals using the Atmos API and they can start selling storage as a service today, under their own brand, and bill for the services. We've developed our own APIs so they can integrate using those as well."

How important is Atmos to Redstor's plans? "Going Atmos hardware means we lose vendor independence. Atmos Virtual Edition gives you more vendor independence. To me Atmos is just an enabler; it's not the thing that will make us successful. The network is the most important thing to us. None of our customers will buy service from us just because it's based on Atmos."

How does Ruane view Redstor now? "I consider us to be more like a telco than anything else. We aggregate demand, we're a billing machine, and we say: 'Send us your data and we won't lose it'."

All the foregoing reads like a case study, which it is, but it is about one of the first EMC Atmos installations in Europe which makes it interesting, even if Redstor is blowing its own trumpet here. ®

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