Managed services provider Macquarie Telecom has announced the public availability of two new hosting products that offer the flexible pricing models of cloud computing.
The Sydney-based company's 'managed cloud' offering, live today after several months of beta testing among a select group of unnamed customers, runs on a hypervisor-agnostic software program underpinned primarily by HP hardware.
It launched two products that offered excess bursting capacity to those existing Macquarie Telecom customers wishing to add a variable component to their traditional hosting, which remains billed annually.
Both were available as bolt-ons to Macquarie's traditional hosting, with a fixed monthly management fee plus monthly charges for server instance and data storage blocks (akin to the Amazon EC2 model).
These server instances come in the following blocks:
- One virtual CPU and 2GB RAM with 160GB data storage included.
- Two virtual CPUs and 4GB of RAM with 160GB data storage included.
- Four virtual CPUs and 8GB of RAM with 160GB data storage included.
- Four virtual CPUs and 10GB of RAM with 160GB data storage included.
- Eight virtual CPUs with 16GB of RAM with 160GB data storage included.
The largest two instances - the 4VCPU/10GB and 8VCPU/16GB - come with faster disk I/O and can be bundled with solid state storage for faster access to database applications.
Additional storage beyond the 160GB is charged at $0.06 per GB
Macquarie Telecom's entry-level product - 'Always Ready Standby' - was priced at $2.75 per hour plus $100 a month in management fees, best suited to customers requiring burstable capacity for less than five days per month of use (such as for testing and disaster recovery scenarios).
The second - 'Always Ready Business' – was priced at $1.75 per hour plus a $200 per month management fee, best suited to an organisation wanting under ten days per month for the bursting of existing production applications (aka the hybrid cloud model).
Macquarie's traditional managed VPS (virtual private server) offering has subsequently been re-branded as "Always On" and remains on annual agreements charged at $450 per month. Its faster I/O service for demanding applications has meanwhile been rebadged as "Always On Performance."
Aidan Tudehope, general manager of Hosting at Macquarie Telecom said the "cloud" offering differed from public models in that it provided the same access to dedicated account managers and local technical support as the company's managed hosting customers.
Subsequently, customers could not simply log on and spin up a one-off virtual machine build without first contacting Macquarie's team to provision an initial service.
"Cloud providers to date have typically been unmanaged," Tudehope told iTnews. "They operate on what I call check-box legals and a swipe of the credit card.
"We set out to resolve a challenge – how to get mainstream corporate IT teams to embrace the cloud model.
"This offering combines the certain elements of cloud computing – the burstability and variable pricing models, with a management construct. The difference here is that our engineers are in the NOC [network operations centre] watching a data feed from probes set up for each virtual instance to ensure it is always up."
Tudehope said that once a customer was initially provisioned by Macquarie, they could enjoy the burstability of the cloud model.
"They can also pre-define a bursting criteria to automatically spin up a new server – based on a maximum number of concurrent users, for example," he said.
He said the enterprise hosting company did not want to deal with one-off customers looking for a quick virtual server on the fly.
"We don't want customers that use the service in that way," he said. "We want to run credit checks, document everything. The moment you say you don't care about such things, you miss the point of this being a managed service."
Tudehope would not divulge the scale of infrastructure Macquarie has built out specifically for the cloud service.
"We haven't publicised volume numbers, but we are the largest managed hoster in the country. We are able to leverage the environment we have – things like a 10GB network backbone – such that we could meet the needs of any customer several times over.
"We have spent millions of dollars here," he said. "This is not a backyard operation. There is nothing in here that isn't platinum plated. If we miss a beat on infrastructure it would dramatically undermine our credentials."