CloudSigma tries to stand out with new hybrid services

CloudSigma is hopping on the hybrid bandwagon, offering customers collocated space in addition to its public cloud services. It’s offering a couple of twists, though, that could make the offering attractive to enterprises.

One way is that it’s offering a 1GigE or 10GigE private line between users’ public and private clouds. Because most businesses use private clouds to protect sensitive corporate data, they typically end up using a VPN to connect the public and private clouds.

“What we’re able to do is transparently bridge the public and private clouds without latency,” said Robert Jenkins, CloudSigma’s CEO. “It’s end to end private without any public IP so customers can maintain security policies.”

hybrid_0.jpgSource: HighTechDad, via Flickr

CloudSigma ties up a port for customers in order to offer the service but Jenkins said it expects that’ll pay off. “If somebody takes the trouble to do this, they’re intending to use our cloud. They don’t need to use it very much to make it worthwhile occupying that port,” he said. He also noted that it doesn’t make sense for customers to tie up a port on their own end if they don’t intend to use it. “It’s sort of self policing.”

CloudSigma is also announcing that it’s offering external connectivity and it will charge on a per GB rate for it. Typically, businesses set up a line and have to pay a monthly connection fee to a telecom provider. Rather than spend thousands of dollars on connectivity that will probably be underutilized plus incur costs related to managing the connection, customers can pay CloudSigma based on usage, Jenkins said. That could make sense for businesses that underutilize their lines.

The company is also offering a rebate program for customers that use both its public and private clouds.

While some of these new offerings are designed to help customers cut costs, it’s not really about cost, said Jenkins. “We’re not trying to be the cheapest,” he said. Instead it’s more about cost effectiveness and price performance, he said.

Cost will continue to be a hot issue in cloud services. Given its size, Amazon Web Services is hard to beat on price. That said, I’ve seen some really complicated charts that aim to show how some of the competitive services are actually less expensive. I believe that some services are in fact less expensive than AWS, depending on the application and usage patterns. But unless the industry ends up standardizing on how they price services, which is unlikely, it will continue to be difficult for customers to shop solely based on price because it’s so complicated to compare. That gives the smaller players, like CloudSigma, an opportunity to try to draw customers with unique offerings or high-touch services.

Read more of Nancy Gohring's "To the Cloud" blog and follow the latest IT news at ITworld. Follow Nancy on Twitter at @ngohring and on Google+. For the latest IT news, analysis and how-tos, follow ITworld on Twitter and Facebook.

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