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2/23/2009
04:04 PM
John Foley
John Foley
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How To Get Started With Storage-As-A-Service

Pay-as-you-go online storage services are a flexible way to deal with exploding data volume. For 25 cents per month, you can rent a gigabyte of storage from Nirvanix. But is that any way to buy enterprise storage?

Pay-as-you-go online storage services are a flexible way to deal with exploding data volume. For 25 cents per month, you can rent a gigabyte of storage from Nirvanix. But is that any way to buy enterprise storage?Well, yes and no. With its Storage Delivery Network, Nirvanix is one of the early leaders in the storage-as-a-service market. Founded in 2007 and based in San Diego, Nirvanix competes with Amazon's Simple Storage Service and a growing number of other on-demand storage services. Nirvanix starts at 25 cents per GB per month for a single node on its NirvanixSDN and 48 cents per GB for two nodes.

Users can sign up for Nirvanix's service in a few minutes with a credit card, e-mail address, and other basic information. Or they can go through a sales person and sign an enterprise contract.

What should you do? Many customers start with the self-service, pay-as-you-go option as way of getting experience, then transition to an enterprise account once their comfort level -- and storage usage -- grows. Nirvanix VP of sales Joe Lyons tells me that about two-thirds of the company's customers have self-service accounts and one-third enterprise accounts.

Storage workload helps determine the starting point. For companies with more than 2 TBs to manage, Nirvanix steers them toward direct sales rather than self service.

As companies get more serious about storage as a service, Nirvanix ratchets up the level of engagement. When I talked to Lyons the other day, he was getting ready to go into a three-hour meeting with a customer that was in the market for 200-plus TBs of storage. Those in-person meetings cover use cases, data migration strategies, cost, technical nitty-gritty, service levels, and so on.

The sales cycle for enterprise accounts tends to be longer, of course. It may take 12 weeks or longer for a first time enterprise account to get up and running, factoring in the time it takes to meet, write up a contact and service level agreement, and get vendor approval through the customer's internal procurement process.

With so much happening, InformationWeek is preparing an in-depth report on storage-as-a-service. If you're a vendor in the market, or an IT pro shopping for storage-as-a-service, drop me a line at jpfoley@techweb.com.

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