Box Partners With AWS, IBM for Geographical Cloud Storage

Box Zones will enable businesses to centralize content while addressing local data storage requirements, which differ from country to country in the EU and in Asia.

Box is getting geographically granular with its storage services, and it will be using the expertise of both Amazon Web Services and IBM to do it.

At Box World Tour Europe on April 12, Box responded to evolving European Union regulations by announcing Box Zones, which will provide enterprises with new choices as to where to store data regionally across Europe and Asia.

Box Zones are designed to enable businesses to centralize their content while still addressing local data storage requirements, which differ from country to country in the EU and in Asia.

By using AWS and IBM Cloud data centers, Box Zones will allow content in Box to be stored physically in Germany, Ireland, Singapore and Japan based on customer needs—and in similar fashion to Box's standard U.S. cloud storage. The service becomes available next month.

First Publicized Business Deal Between Box, AWS

This is the first official announcement involving a business pact between AWS and Box, although AWS has quietly provided redundant-copy storage for Box for several years. IBM, whose EU cloud data centers will house Box Zones, and Box signed a far-reaching development partnership deal last year.

Box Zones joins services such as Box KeySafe and Box Governance as the latest deployment option for international Box customers.

"We've been working on this initiative for over two years," Box Vice President of Enterprise Products Rand Wacker told eWEEK, "which is to create an international footprint for Box. We're doing it quite differently than anyone else has. Instead of going out and building data centers and anchoring ourselves in certain areas, we've partnered [with AWS and IBM] to let customers take control of parts of their infrastructure.

"With KeySafe, for example, it was encryption keys to protect the data [held by users], and now it's the storage and where their data actually resides."

Regular Box Features Stay in Place in Zones

Box Zones will supply this regional content storage without affecting any of its collaboration features, Wacker said. These include document watermarking, granular permission controls, commenting and tasks, file preview—not to mention integrations with the tools businesses use the most, such as SharePoint, Google Docs, Office 365 and Salesforce.

"With Box Zones, we're partnering with two world-class global companies, IBM and Amazon, to provide our customers with storage infrastructure at unparalleled reach and scale," CEO Aaron Levie wrote in his blog. "Over time, you will see us enter more regions throughout (and beyond) Europe and Asia, and potentially open up to other partners in the future.

"Box will continue to operate our own data centers in the U.S., but Box Zones is a powerful extension of our infrastructure that will help us expand to more places faster. Best of all, it's fully transparent to the user (and enterprise)."

At last count, about 57,000 businesses—including 59 percent of the Fortune 500—are using Box for secure content management and collaboration, Wacker said. Multinational businesses such as Amadeus, AstraZeneca, Eli Lilly, General Electric, Procter & Gamble and Schneider Electric have teams that require secure international collaboration to be successful, he said.

Data at the Center of Everything

"As enterprises turn to cloud as an innovation platform, data is at the center," IBM Senior Vice President of IBM Cloud Robert LeBlanc said. "Box Zones on the IBM Cloud, with new technology from the recent acquisition of Cleversafe, will provide a platform for clients who prefer to store data in country for performance, security or other advantages."

Box Zones is scheduled to become available next month for an additional fee. It is also scheduled to be available via IBM Cloud in Europe and Asia later this year, also for an additional fee. Go here for more information.

Chris Preimesberger

Chris J. Preimesberger

Chris J. Preimesberger is Editor-in-Chief of eWEEK and responsible for all the publication's coverage. In his 15 years and more than 4,000 articles at eWEEK, he has distinguished himself in reporting...