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CloudSigma Adds SSD Capabilities To Boost IaaS Performance

In a move that is intended to provide higher performance to its infrastructure as a service (IaaS) clients, CloudSigma is adding solid-state drive (SSD) storage. Such higher-performance drives are particularly important when input/output (I/O) operations become more random in multitenant public cloud environments because magnetic storage solutions that rely on physical spinning disks can only process thousands of I/O operations per second, leading to performance bottlenecks. Support for SSD storage means companies can create a tiered storage system by putting the most important data and files on the SSD, while putting files and data that are less frequently retrieved on magnetic storage devices.

Magnetic storage typically has seek times of 7 to 8 milliseconds, while that of an SSD is as little as one-third of a millisecond, says Robert Jenkins, CTO of the company. In addition, the company’s location in Zurich, Switzerland, is convenient for European companies that want to maintain their data on that continent, he says.

Patrick Rodies, CTO for Preview Networks, a Copenhagen-based content distribution and syndication platform for localized marketing and video content in Europe, says his company of 28 people is using CloudSigma for its content management system platform to deliver video, image and text content. The advantage of using the CloudSigma service is that it enables the company to focus on its business. "As we are not a technology company, it is important for us not to have to spend too much resources on networking and system administration," he says. Because it offers IaaS, it is easy for it to scale, plus its location in Europe reduces network latency, he says. He is looking forward to seeing how
the use of SSDs affects performance, "especially hungry I/O operations such as databases."

The solution's principal differentiator is the ability to configure a virtual computer, dynamic random-access memory capacity, solid-state disk capacity and disk capacity either through its extensive representational state transfer application programming interface or a complete Web browser interface, says James Bagley, senior analyst and business development consultant for Storage Strategies NOW. The SSD configurability allows the important dimension of SSD performance storage to be added to a virtual machine for any number of caching, high-performance compute and database applications, he says. The fact that each physical server includes a high-speed flash memory system boot drive, an SSD and rotating media directly attached in the server avoids shared storage bottlenecks, allows for simple scaling when a physical server is completely utilized, and demonstrates that the service is targeted at highly scalable cloud compute applications rather than at cloud storage, he says.

The service is priced as a utility, at 40 cents per gigabyte per month, plus 0.2 to 0.5 cents per gigabyte of writes because SSD has a lifetime maximum number of writes, Jenkins says. In comparison, a service such as Amazon is typically 10 cents per gigabyte per month plus 5 to 10 cents per million input/output operations, he says. It is available now.

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