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'Cloud storage served from an array would cost $2 a gigabyte'

Oz cloud shuns arrays, builds on servers instead

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New Australian cloud storage operator Haylix says building a cloud on storage arrays would mean prices of $AUD2 a gigabyte a month, rather than the $AUD0.12 it has been able to achieve by building a cloud out of servers.

“Arrays are great for active servers with high I/O,” said Michael Richardson, a Manager at Haylix. But the company has instead cooked up a cloud from lots and lots of Dell servers and OpenStack, a combination it says is more affordable and flexible than even dedicated cloud arrays like EMC's Atmos.

Richardson also feels his homebrew cloud allows Haylix to differentiate in ways that would not be possible if it used off-the-shelf cloud kit. “It won't be enough just to say we are Australian,” he said. “We are an engineering company at heart. It was not enough for us to re-badge a service.”

One example of that engineering-led differentiation is deep integration with Akamai, thanks to tweaks to OpenStack. The result is a feature Richardson hopes will make the new service attractive to customers beyond Australia by reducing latency.

Another differentiation is a user interface which, in a demonstration to The Register, appeared rather more user-friendly than that offered by Amazon Web Services.

Richardson would not disclose just which Dell servers Haylix will employ or even which form factor his machines possess, but did confirm the company's VIA Nano-powered servers did not make his shopping list. He did confirm that Haylix has many terabytes of live storage and many more terabytes in stock but not yet online.

The company also intends to introduce a cloud computing product later in 2012. ®

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