Stratascale brings two new Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) offerings, aptly named Public Cloud and Private Cloud, to their existing managed hosting service, rebranded from Ironscale to Automated Managed Hosting (AMH). The offerings are distinct in how the servers are provisioned. The public cloud servers are fully virtualized machines that share server resources with other hosts similar to other IaaS offerings. Private cloud is a dedicated server running a hypervisor and AMH is a dedicated server that you can install any operating system on. All three services, which will be available April 1st, can be combined into a hybrid cloud where applications can communicate over a private network we well as to the Internet.
With their hybrid cloud, servers running in the Public Cloud, Private Cloud and AMH can be interconnected via private networking separate from the Internet. For example, a web application can be hosted with a public IP address, access servers and services on the private network. Using Stratascale's load-balancing, you can add and remove servers from your application pool as needed. One of the big differences between Stratascale's Cloud offering and others is that the minimum lease time for a server is a month, where as other cloud offerings are demand-based, using hourly rates.
Leveraging Stratascale's automation, Public Cloud and Private Cloud are fully automated systems that let customers easily purchase and provision virtual machines through a web based GUI. Both the Public and Private cloud services have two levels of automatic failover that come with the service. At the hardware level, Stratascale monitors the server hardware and in the event of a failure or pending failure, the Stratascale management system will automatically fail over the virtual machines to available hardware. The second form of fail-over is through application port monitoring. An administrator defines a port to monitor, such as TCP port 80 on a web server, and if port 80 becomes unresponsive, the VM will be restarted automatically. Port-level failure detection takes approximately a minute to be detected, and the VM will be restored in the amount of time it takes for the VM to reboot and the services to start.
The Public Cloud offers a range of VM bundles from a single Intel Nehalem CPU with 256 MB RAM and 20GB of storage starting at $44.99 per month inclusive to a VM bundle with four Intel Nehalem CPUs, 8GB RAM and 300GB of storage for $299.99 per month. The Public Cloud offers three different OS's CentOS, a Linux OS based on Redhat, Redhat Enterprise and Windows 2008.
The Public Cloud service is targeted at non-mission critical applications such as application testing and development. Tom Poole, product marketing research analyst with Stratascale, explained that the Public Cloud service can be used for any purpose the customer wants, but the Public Cloud offering is a shared service and therefore another VM running on the system could negatively impact the other servers. If you are concerned about the potential impact of shared resources, a dedicated service like Private Cloud or AMH is a better solution. We'd like to see the ability for customers to put their own VMs into the Public Cloud offering, something Stratascale said they are examining. Being able to put your own VM into the public cloud makes any IaaS service much more attractive since you can easily replicate your existing application stack.