Canadian cloud provider offers cross-border service

A Canadian provider of hosting and data centre services has added an international flavor to its cloud solutions

CentriLogic Inc. said Tuesday it is now offering infrastructure-as-a-service products from its data centres on both sides of the Canada-U.S. border for enterprise-class workloads.

The new service, based on Citrix CloudPlatform using Apache CloudStack, is aimed at assuring international organizations that data will remain in either Canada or the U.S. to comply with legal or regulatory requirements.

While the data doesn’t move customers can still launch virtual machines running Windows and Linx.

The new service should appeal to firms that need enterprise-scale compliance, security and redundancy capabilities, said CEO Robert Offley.
Jim Latimer, the company’s former chief strategy officer who is now a consultant on the new platform, said the change came about in part because of customer concerns on both sides of the border — CentriLogic has data centres in Ontario and New York State — with privacy laws here and the U.S. Patriot Act.
The question was how to ensure data stayed where customers want it, yet give the flexibility of a virtualized infrastructure. The answer came in the Citirx CloudPlatform, which allows the creation of three levels of infrastructure that customers can specify: zones, pods and clusters.
In CentriLogic’s case, zones are physical in Canada and the U.S., pods are the hardware located in each country and clusters are based on hypervisors. So a customer can chose to have certain data in one zone, other data in another and use specified pods and clusters of resources — and all managed from a single portal.
“It allowed us to roll out a cloud with a single (customer) control panel,” said Latimer, “but the customer decides where the instances are running and the data resides.”
Customers can transfer data across the border, but it has to be done manually. It can never be done without the customer’s knowledge.

Where data resides is still a sensitive issue for organizations for a number of reasons, Latimer said. For example, if a police force has a Canadian warrant for customer data, CentriLogic will tell the organization becuase companies here have the legal responsibility for knowing where their data is at all times. On the other hand, the U.S. Patriot is forbidden from telling a customer its data has been subpoened and copied.
The other reason for changing to the Citrix platform is to offer organizations more flexibility for their applications, Latimer said. Not all applications are ready for the cloud, he pointed out, so many organizations going to the cloud have hybrid environments — some apps are virtualized, while others stay on premise. The new platform has a hybrid connector that can connect co-location, managed services and cloud services.
CentriLogic also has a data centres in England and Hong Kong. The new cloud service will be offered in the U.K. later this year giving customers a third country where data can reside.

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Howard Solomon
Howard Solomon
Currently a freelance writer, I'm the former editor of and Computing Canada. An IT journalist since 1997, I've written for several of ITWC's sister publications including and Computer Dealer News. Before that I was a staff reporter at the Calgary Herald and the Brampton (Ont.) Daily Times. I can be reached at hsolomon [@]

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