Verizon and IBM today unveiled Managed Data Vault, a cloud backup service that uses a software-based technology that replicates redundant copies of data offsite through software agents on application servers. Warren Sirota, strategy and program development executive at IBM, said the base service, to be offered by both Verizon and IBM, provides remote electronic storage at an offsite data centre.

Optional upgrades can include an on-site storage appliance, the ability to replicate data to an alternate vault and data backup tapes for long-term retention.

"The combination of Verizon's secure networking expertise and data centre capabilities and IBM's long history of providing electronic data management and protection solutions yields a unique end-to-end backup and recovery solution that is integrated with an enterprise's existing wide-area network environment and fully managed in the cloud," said IDC analyst Melanie Posey in a statement.

The initial iteration of Managed Data Vault is aimed at users in the New York metropolitan region, with the primary data centre located at IBM's Sterling Forest recovery centre. The companies expect to expand the service later this year using both IBM and Verizon data centres, Sirota said.

The Managed Data Vault service's disk-based backup offers set recovery point objectives (RPO) and recovery time objectives (RTO). Managed Data Vault also enhances RPO of database applications: the online database backup ability enhances database and application availability by allowing backups to be performed while the database is being used, according to Sirota.

"There is dramatic RTO improvement by eliminating the time necessary to recall and transport tapes for recovery. The planned for RTO is also more reliably met because Managed Data Vault lets users know that a successful backup has occurred," Sirota said.

The backup service is priced per gigabyte of data stored, the specific price per gigabyte depends on which level of service is used and how long a user wants the data retained. Sirota said the price "will be very competitive relative to Internet-based services that do not have consistent nor reliable throughput characteristics, with the added benefit of avoiding ongoing capital expense as data stores grow."

IBM would not release the throughput rates associated with Managed Data Vault, instead saying it is designed to backup large data stores (terabytes) in normal backup windows, and at LAN speed.