A peek at the recent Gartner Magic Quadrant for IaaS will show just how incredibly hard it is for any vendor to differentiate itself from Amazon Web Services. In what is perhaps a first, Gartner had to change the scale on its quadrant to allow for the lead AWS has on all others in the market. When you’re a vendor based outside of the US, this challenge is even harder – not only do you have a giant dominating the mindscape, but you have to fight the “Non US vendors are 2nd rate” mindset. So it’s always interesting to watch a vendor like CloudSigma (more coverage here) find ways to set itself apart.
The Swiss-based vendor has facilities in Europe and the US (along with international facilities via a relationship with Equinix) and differentiates with an unusually robust SLA (CloudSigma offers a time credit of 50 times qualifying downtime) as well as fully persistent storage and servers. Along with this they, like another European-based vendor, ProfitBricks, allow customers to specify exactly how much CPU, RAM, Storage and Bandwidth they require independently. Resources are not bundled together and there is no “standard size” server. Additionally, customers can run Any Operating System and software that they wish.
Today they’re further trying to differentiate by introducing a hybrid hosting offering with private patching to its public cloud – essentially CloudSigma offers customers dedicated colocation space at each of its individual facilities with a private patch directly to the CloudSigma public cloud – it would seem the best of both worlds – enterprises get to colo at some high spec facilities, and enjoy a high speed and low-latency connection to a public cloud service which conveniently is located in the same facilities.
In terms of details – hybrid customers get either a 1GigE or 10GigE patch directly into their private network and hence enjoy the security of not having to have their data traverse a public pipe – users can also utilize CloudSigma’s redundant routing, external IP connectivity and DDOS protection. Finally CloudSigma offers customers a rebate on their cloud spending of up to 20% against probate hosting costs.
Obviously this announcement is similar to what AWS customers can enjoy with direct connect – the difference being that users aren’t tied to AWS and its pre-defined range of instance sizes and types. There is also the debatable fact (interestingly not alluded to in the CloudSIgma press kit) that by going down this route, potentially organizations avoid the issues that come from being tied to a US company – while it’s debatable of this benefit – it’s certainly something that I imagine European customers in articular would be looking at favorably.
AWS is the elephant in the room – I’s hard to imagine meaningful ways that companies can find to differentiate themselves in a similar marketplace. But by offering enterprises, and in particular European enterprises, a coherent hybrid cloud offering, with the ability to bypass involvement with US corporations, CloudSigma has found something credible on which to pin its hopes – I predict that it will find a small, but loyal following, for what its doing.