September 17, 2012
Box Offers Faster Cloud Based Storage To Businesses
Michael Harper for redOrbit.com — Your Universe Online
Yet another company is bringing data servers and backend heavy lifting to the cloud, offering tools and services to businesses around the globe. Cloud storage company Box announced their global content-sharing network today which aims to provide their enterprise customers, such as Six Flags amusement parks and Sony Electronics, even faster data transfers.
The new service, called Box Accelerator, is composed of 9 points of presence (or PoPs) all over the world, including points in Asia, Australia, Europe, North America and South America. In addition to setting up multiple PoPs around the world, Box Accelerator also optimized their network to take advantage of a reported 10X boost in upload speeds.
According to Box´s vice president of operations Stefan Apitz, half of their business takes place outside of the United States. Therefore, Box found it appropriate to build out a presence in these international areas to keep up with global demand.
"There is a clear requirement for us to support global demand with infrastructure and operational capacity as needed," said Apitz, speaking with CRN in an interview. "We need to keep a close eye on our users' experience, and speed is a big deal."
To do this, Box will “piggyback” their network on top of other existing networks from Amazon and Microsoft´s Azure, as well as other cloud providers. Box isn´t only looking for availability, however. They´re also looking for the best coverage.
“Where we find we can do it better, we can transport data through our own co-locations,” said Apitz.
While Accelerator may act like a content delivery network (or CDN), it works a bit differently, says Box´s vice president Sam Schillace.
The biggest difference between the two, says Schillace, is that there is no data actually stored at an endpoint in Accelerator.
"It's like a baby CDN," said Schillace, speaking with ZDNet. “Accelerator is like a CDN in that it moves nodes to the edge and optimizes, but it's not caching data like a CDN. There's no user data held at the nodes."
Box built accelerator in house in just under 10 weeks and now that it´s launched, Box expects Accelerator to ease some of the strain on other networks as it grows out past its original introduction size.
As it stands, most of the Accelerator nodes on the network are Box´s physical servers. Currently, Box is serving 11 million users through 125,000 businesses, 40% of which are using Box in a mobile platform.
While Box Accelerator aims to increase speeds from node to node, the service might not be able to improve upon their mobile offerings, such as content collaboration and delivery just yet. While Box users on an iPad or another tablet computer connected to WiFi might notice the speed changes with Accelerator, the architectures which support 3G and LTE aren´t yet able to fully benefit from these speed improvements.
"We would need to think of something else for mobile, but path optimization will help but not as much," said Schillace.
During testing, Box Accelerator was able to provide faster upload speeds than three of its competitors, including Dropbox, Google Drive and Microsoft SkyDrive. On average, Accelerator delivered upload speeds of 25MB of data in 15.7 seconds.
Box is already encouraging users to begin uploading their files to Accelerator to test the new speeds and report their findings back to Box on Twitter @BoxHQ.