Comcast Business Services has paired up with Ascent Data's data center in
Pittsburgh to deliver services to small- and medium-size businesses in the area.

The goal of the partnership is to put enterprise-grade cloud computing and data center offerings, including colocation, managed hosting, virtualization, and disaster recovery and business continuity, within reach of area businesses.

The partnership joined Comcast's fiber-optic network with Ascent's Pittsburgh-based SAS 70 Type II data center.

"Pairing Comcast's Ethernet Private Line and metro Ethernet high-speed connectivity with our IT infrastructure brings a compelling response to the growing demand for cloud computing services in our market," said Steve Shangold, president and CEO at Ascent Data.

Comcast launched metro Ethernet services in more than 20 markets last month as it makes its move into serving medium-size businesses.

The agreement between Comcast Business Services and Ascent provides a means for small- to medium-size businesses to enhance data security and IT staff resources through a point-to-point connection that may have been unattainable in the past due to cost and physical location.  

"We are pleased to collaborate with Ascent Data to help drive its continued success by providing dedicated, symmetrical metro Ethernet bandwidth that delivers a scalable, secure solution to help meet customers' escalating bandwidth requirements," said Glenn Lytle, vice president of Comcast Business Services for the Keystone Region. "This brings Comcast's industry-leading fiber-based network together with Ascent Data's secure SAS 70 Type II data center to give customers exceptional value, superior performance and robust solutions to meet their every need."

Comcast's metro Ethernet product features a 40-gigabit fiber backbone that is capable of delivering services with bandwidth ranging from 1 megabit to 10 gigabits per second over the last mile.

"I think our last mile is an incredible, unique asset, and the more ways that we can come up with to take advantage of that to meet the needs of small- and medium-size businesses, the better off we'll be," said Kevin O'Toole, senior vice president of product management and strategy for Comcast Business Services. "That is where you'll see us continue to focus a lot of energy. We think there's a lot of additional upside to be had in the metro Ethernet space as we go forward."

Small and medium-size businesses have been migrating to cloud-based offerings, which allow them to save on IT resources and pay for services that cost less than similar telco offerings. According to Forrester Research, the global cloud computing market will reach $241 billion in 2020, compared to $40.7 billion in 2010.

For more on cloud-based services, check out the current edition of CED.