Box Zones will launch in May, finally letting users store data in Ireland, Germany, Japan and Singapore, boosting privacy and performance
Box Zones will let Box customers store their data in Europe or Asia, as well as the US, in Amazon Web Services (AWS) and IBM’s data centres, affording them additional protection and greater control over where their information is held.
Speaking at Box World Tour in London, Box CEO Aaron Levie revealed that AWS’s Ireland, Germany, Japan and Singapore regions would be the first four locations available and customers can start moving their data from May.
Box Zones will be expanded to cover IBM Cloud, which has 46 data centres worldwide, later this year. Regardless of whether AWS or IBM’s infrastructure is used, customers will have to pay an additional fee.
“We’ve heard a lot of feedback over the past few years that there’s a desire to store files locally in region,” said Levie. “This has been a major concern for some of the world’s largest businesses [or those in regulated industries].
Box has rolled out a number of services in the past few years which it hopes will encourage companies in heavily regulated industries, such as healthcare or finance, to move the cloud.
These include Box KeySafe, which lets users manage encryption keys locally or in the cloud, and Box Governance. And, at BoxWorks last year, Box said it would let customers use their own cloud storage and network to boost security and performance.
The ability for customers to choose where their data is stored will be crucial for firms who want to benefit from EU data protection rules, want lower latency, or need data to be stored locally. Rival Dropbox lets its customers store data in AWS’ region in Germany.
“There can be regulatory requirements that can limit cloud innovation,” Levie continued. “We can’t just do this for US-based organisations, we need to do that everyone.”
Separation of app and storage
Levie confirmed last year the company was looking at data centres outside the US as it expands, but said it was more focussed on offering a seamless experience for customers, something which various storage zones might complicate.
However, the firm appears to have now found a balance, by splitting application from storage.
“We’ve separated our core application, which has long been coupled to our storage, and enable it to plug into various cloud storage partners around the world,” he said. “We’ve chosen two key partners: IBM, who were a natural fit, and AWS, with whom we have a number of joint-initiatives with.”
Levie was joined on stage by IBM’s senior vice president of Cloud, Robert Blanc, who said IBM had long realised the importance of storing data locally. The partnership with Box will use technology IBM acquired last year with the purchase of Cleversafe.
“We’ve got 46 data centres in 16 countries,” he said. “We saw that shift: that people want their data in-country for regulatory, latency reasons. We decided to put data centres in all the major countries around the world.
“You’ve got to give the client a choice. We can’t say ‘you’ve got to do it this way’.”