Fujitsu has introduced a UK-based infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) platform, targeting it at companies reluctant to use public clouds for security reasons.
The new service, announced on Monday, will provide businesses with on-demand, weekly access to a development platform, storage and servers hosted within 'highly secure' datacentres in the UK, Fujitsu said.
"Customers and CIOs regularly tell us that one of the reasons they don't use cloud is because of concerns around data security and residency," said David Steven, director of global datacentre offerings with Fujitsu. "What this platform provides is a secure alternative for organisations that need to know where data resides, and it also provides complete transparency and visibility into how that data is being provisioned."
The question of where data in the cloud resides on physical machines is a potential problem for companies due to the Data Protection Act of 1998. That law says personal data should not be transferred outside the European Economic Area unless the country where it is residing provides an "adequate level of protection" — something that can be tricky for a cloud customer to determine.
David Bradshaw, a research manager with IDC, does not see the concern as a major barrier for many companies. "It's an issue... but there's a bit of flexibility in how the rules are interpreted, and outside of perhaps financial or professional services, it's not a big, big worry for people. Within those sectors, definitely, [UK datacentres are] something they will welcome," Bradshaw said.
Fujitsu is pitching the IaaS platform as a cheaper alternative to cloud services such as Amazon. It is offering tiered pricing structures, so customers pay less for archive storage than for high-performance storage, for example. In addition, "Amazon will charge you for the volumes of data at rest, but also for data being shipped on or off the service, which we don't", Steven said.
The IaaS pricing is staggered according to how long a customer is prepared to commit to using the platform, so businesses will need to consider the figures carefully, said Bradshaw.
"It may be that not paying for data porting will be a big saving, but if you're using cloud services for very short periods of time, you may not get the best deal using this type of pricing model," he said. "Organisations often use cloud for peak demand and testing, which can be very short-term activities, so it's important to run the numbers carefully."
Fujitsu already sells on-demand storage services to clients as part of its Trusted Services Platform, and recently it announced plans to provide a new on-demand platform for live production business systems later this year.