Artisan Infrastructure offers Roll-Your-Own Cloud

Artisan Infrastructure CEO Brian Hierholzer

CEO Brian Hierholzer

Artisan Infrastructure has introduced what it’s calling the world’s first wholesale-only object-based storage platform, and is giving solution providers a chance to test-drive it for free.

Artisan, a pioneer in the field of exclusively providing wholesale Infrastructure-as-a-Service, works with a number of applications that are familiar to managed service providers, and counts “hundreds of ” among its existing customers, according to Brian Hierholzer, CEO. The free 60-day trial of the new service is available now, and Hierholzer said partners are welcome to upload as much as they want during that time.

While final pricing for the new object-based storage has not been announced, the company markets itself as being up to 70 percent cheaper than large IaaS providers, with storage checking in at 2.9 cents per Gigabyte. Hierholzer said the company has 1,5000 slots available for customers in the free trial, of which 750 have been spoken for through pre-registration.

Along with price, Artisan Infrastructure seeks to differentiate itself as a pure-play IaaS company, as Hierholzer puts it, “the Switzerland of IaaS.” The company does not and will not, he says, offer platform-as-a-service and effectively compete with those using its infrastructure for their own platforms.

“[Building a platform for customers] is [our partners’] model, and we’ll never compete with them. That’s their business model, and we’re here to help them succeed,” he said.

Existing MSP customers range from large national players to five-person local MSPs. But a common thread amongst them is an interest in building out their own branded solutions and relying less on reselling third-party applications.

“They’re moving from reselling solutions to building their own solutions,” Hierholzer said. “They understand that they need to stop bringing in those outside services, build their own brand and bring back that revenue.”

That said, what partners do with the infrastructure capacity they purchase from Artisan Infrastructure doesn’t particularly interest Hierholzer, and the company has existing relationships with a variety of MSP-facing applications for partners to build their own cloud-based services, such as backup and recover and file synchronization. But when they do so, they’ll be doing so under their own brand and using tools – the difference between reselling DropBox or Box.net, and offering a self-branded file sharing service based on AnchorWorks’ cloud sharing tool.

“They need to build something on top of storage, and we’re building out an ecosystem of what’s hot today, and letting these service providers build it for themselves,” Hierholzer said.

The connection with ISVs is critical, he said, allowing Artisan to offer reference architectures for solution providers to quickly and scalably roll out their own versions of applications ranging from Anchor to DR offerings like PHD Virtual or Vembu Storgrid, as well as storage gateways from Twin Strata, MoonWalk, and others.

Artisan Infrastructure currently has data centers in Austin and Kansas City, with future plans to open up shop in Phoenix and London.

The company has existing Canadian customers, but has yet to fully open up the market in Canada, due to what he acknowledges as challenges around the U.S. Patriot Act. That said, he said he expects to expand formally into Canada – including data center space – within the next 18 months.

“We’re conservative – we just need a couple of anchor tenants to really launch there,” he said. While he’s confident he’ll have those anchor tenants in short order, he said he’s not yet ready to commit to a timeline other than the next year and a half.

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