The Planet bundles hosted NAS, cloud storage

A partnership with Nirvanix is designed to combine high-speed access with worldwide availability

Hosting company The Planet has teamed up with Nirvanix to bundle widely available cloud storage with high-speed hosted capacity.

Starting Tuesday, The Planet is offering storage capacity in a Nirvanix node within its own data center, plus cloud storage in other Nirvanix facilities around the world, on a single bill.

As part of the new Storage Cloud platform, Nirvanix has added a cloud storage node in one of The Planet's data centers in Dallas, on top of that company's existing nodes on the East and West Coasts of the U.S., in Germany and in Japan.

As consumers and businesses watch their data proliferate and worry about recovering it in case of system failure, cloud storage services are stepping in to provide a relatively easy way to acquire more capacity and pay for it month to month.

A wide range of companies offer cloud storage, including EMC's Mozy and Amazon's Simple Storage Service (S3). Nirvanix has provided its service since 2007. Cloud storage puts a user's data on a facility on the Internet for access from any location and recovery in case of hard drive crashes at the user's own site.

The Planet aims to offer the high performance and the assurance of hosted storage in its data center by letting customers keep their content in the Dallas facility and have it replicated to other cloud nodes around the world.

From The Planet's data center and over its network, customers can download their data as fast as 40MB per second, which effectively makes it hosted NAS (network-attached storage), according to Rob Walters, general manager of storage and data protection at The Planet.

The speed of downloads from the remote nodes will vary depending on the speed of the user's Internet connection, Walters said. But replication to those nodes allows The Planet to offer service level agreements for the availability of that data.

The company guarantees 99.9 percent availability if customers have their content replicated to one remote node, 99.99 percent with two, and 100 percent availability with three or more nodes, he said.

There are three access methods for uploading and downloading data to the Storage Cloud: Nirvanix CloudNAS, Nirvanix FTP Proxy and an extensible API (application programming interface).

Nirvanix CloudNAS turns a server at a customer's own premises into a gateway that can cache data from the cloud locally for optimal speed, Walters said. Users can also download content directly from a Storage Cloud node via a Web browser. In the future, The Planet will offer browser-based uploads as well as downloads, Walters said.

The Planet began as a Web hosting company in 1998 and now hosts servers for productivity applications as well. The Storage Cloud platform is designed for The Planet's traditional core market of small and medium-sized businesses, as well as large enterprises and companies that resell cloud storage.

Prices start at US$0.25 per downloaded gigabyte, per month, for storage on one node. Replication to each additional node also costs $0.25. But after the first 5TB of data, prices go down based on volume, Walters said. All uploads to the Storage Cloud are free.

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