IBM, Box Bring Cloud Data Closer To Home

Business customers in Europe and Asia are being offered a new option for storing cloud-based data in a specific region.

Thomas Claburn, Editor at Large, Enterprise Mobility

April 12, 2016

3 Min Read
<p style="text-align">(Image: Box)</p>

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On Tuesday, IBM and Box announced a plan to offer cloud storage customers in Europe and Asia the ability to store data in local data centers, just in time for the European Parliament's expected adoption of the EU's General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) later this week.

Expanding a partnership that began last year, Box and IBM will provide IBM Cloud customers in France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, and the UK with the option to store data in their local regions through an offering called Box Zones. As a hybrid cloud service, it allows clients to store data in their own data centers as well as IBM Cloud data centers.

"Box Zones enables us to combine Box's rich, intuitive content management experience and collaboration tools with IBM Cloud's powerful global infrastructure to overcome many of the data storage concerns faced by businesses in Europe and Asia," said Box CEO Aaron Levie in a statement.

Since Edward Snowden's 2013 revelations about the reach of the National Security Agency and allied intelligence organizations, many businesses in Europe and Asia have looked into local storage options, and cloud computing companies have worked to make them a reality. 

The GDPR, introduced in 2012, prior to Snowden's documents, took shape as governments, businesses, and citizens struggled to hammer out data protection and privacy rules for an Internet that was far less secure than most people realized. It represents Europe's attempt to harmonize data rules across its member states and to lower the cost of compliance.

The related EU-US Privacy Shield agreement, reached in February, replaces the Safe Harbor agreement between the US and Europe as a framework designed to ensure that European data transferred to the US gets handled in accordance with EU regulations. 

Box and IBM say they see Box Zones and IBM Cloud as a way to help companies store their data in keeping with evolving regulatory requirements. In conjunction with Box Zones, IBM Cloud Object Storage, through technology from acquisition Cleversafe, provides cloud storage options to meet specific customer needs, from on-premises storage, to hybrid cloud storage, to fully hosted.

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Box and IBM appear to be following the money. In an report published Monday, IDC said it expects spending on enterprise IT infrastructure (servers, storage, and Ethernet switches) in traditional non-cloud environments will decline by 4% in 2016, while spending on private cloud IT infrastructure will increase 11% year-over-year to $13.9 billion. However, even greater growth (14.1%) is expected in public cloud IT infrastructure, which is expected to reach $24.4 billion this year.

Box and IBM have also been developing apps together. Last week, IBM introduced a version of the IBM MobileFirst for iOS Expert Seller app powered by the Box Platform. Expert Seller offers product and service information to corporate sales forces through iPhones and iPads -- information shared and managed via Box's content management platform.

About the Author(s)

Thomas Claburn

Editor at Large, Enterprise Mobility

Thomas Claburn has been writing about business and technology since 1996, for publications such as New Architect, PC Computing, InformationWeek, Salon, Wired, and Ziff Davis Smart Business. Before that, he worked in film and television, having earned a not particularly useful master's degree in film production. He wrote the original treatment for 3DO's Killing Time, a short story that appeared in On Spec, and the screenplay for an independent film called The Hanged Man, which he would later direct. He's the author of a science fiction novel, Reflecting Fires, and a sadly neglected blog, Lot 49. His iPhone game, Blocfall, is available through the iTunes App Store. His wife is a talented jazz singer; he does not sing, which is for the best.

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