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CloudSigma invites Solaris to frolic on its cloud

On the heels of US launch

Maximizing your infrastructure through virtualization

CloudSigma, an infrastructure cloud operator based in Zurich, is letting customers run Solaris and the ZFS file system on its cloud, giving it full peer status with Linux and Windows operating systems.

But don't get too excited, Sparc/Solaris shops.

Robert Jenkins, CloudSigma CTO, tells El Reg that the company is not putting servers using either Sparc64 or Sparc T series processors into its clouds. However, the company will let the x86 version of Solaris 10 run around its cloud and play alongside of myriad Linux and Windows distributions.

So if you love Solaris and run apps on a Sparc-based system, you are going to have to do a recompile to run on the CloudSigma cloud. If you already ported your Solaris apps to x86 machines, however, you are basically good to go.

The cloud fabric underneath CloudSigma is based on the KVM hypervisor now shepherded by commercial Linux distributor Red Hat and adopted by Ubuntu and other Linux distributors. CloudSigma made its own cloud fabric as well as the billing and metering layer that sits atop it, which hooks tightly into that KVM hypervisor but does not, according to Jenkins, restrict CloudSigma from tossing Hyper-V, Xen, or ESXi hypervisors onto portions of its cloud if it becomes necessary or desirable. The third component of the infrastructure cloud is an HTML5-based Web console for controlling cloud images.

The founders of the IaaS provider started work on this software in 2008 and incorporated a year later; in May 2010, the company went into beta.

The company services its European customers from the Interxion data center in Glattbrugg, near Zurich, and last month it opened up operations in the US from the SuperNAP data center outside of Las Vegas, Nevada.

Jenkins says that CloudSigma is now scouting out data centers from which to fluff up its cloud on the East coast, which it hopes to open up in 2012, and expand into growth markets after that (presumably South America and the Asia/Pacific region).

According to Jenkins, FreeBSD is a popular operating system among its customers on its infrastructure cloud, and many of them use ZFS as their file system, too. Some customers already were monkeying around with Solaris, and there's a fair amount of Debian, Gentoo, and Ubuntu Linux, as well as CentOS, Fedora, and SUSE Linux. Windows runs perfectly fine on the KVM hypervisor (and indeed, it was originally designed to support virtual PCs running Windows), and CloudSigma does Windows as well.

While the support for Solaris as well as lots of Windows and Linux variants is interesting, it is perhaps the configuration and pricing of the CloudSigma cloud that is more important.

CloudSigma does not preconfigure virtual images, like Amazon does with its EC2 compute cloud. Rather, you can scale up compute power (measured in GHz per hour), memory (measured in GB per hour), and storage (measured in GB per month) independently of each other. You can see the full price list here.)

All clouds will have to have some kind of oversubscription, whether they are public or private. CloudSigma also has a twist on the spot pricing used by Amazon, which it calls burst pricing. The company tracks the average utilization on its cloud, and has an algorithm that figures out a spot price for CPU, memory, and storage capacity depending on how much resource is available.

The company posts the ongoing burst-mode spot price for capacity on an RSS feed, and you can configure your setup to grab burst capacity as needed under certain pricing conditions. The burst price ranges from half of the normal price – when the cloud is not busy – to a high of 2.5 times the regular price – when it is busy. ®

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