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CloudSigma spins-up all-SSD storage cloud

Flash, a-ah, saviour of the Euro-cloud

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Zurich-based infrastructure-as-a-service slinger CloudSigma has moved to all flash storage for the data center infrastructure running its cloud.

Its migration to an all-SSD cloud is designed to deal with the randomized, multi-tenant access patterns of a public cloud, the company said in a statement announcing the move on Tuesday.

"We have seen the value of SSD's ability to successfully remove storage bottlenecks and inconsistent performance in the cloud for critical systems and applications," CloudSigma CEO Robert Jenkins said.

The infrastructure provider is moving all of its customers off of disak and onto SSD hardware provided by data center startup SolidFire. The company's storage arrays can supercharge multi-tenant cloud environments, letting cloud service providers host more performance-intensive apps like Oracle, SAP, and NoSQL databases.

"[Solidfire] have solved a lot of the problems that traditional SSD vendors have failed to address, specifically around the noisy neighbor problem," CloudSigma's chief enterprise solutions officer Michael Higgins, told The Register.

CloudSigma is about a third of the way through moving customers to the new hardware, and hopes to be managing about 2PB of SolidFire-backed flash storage by the end of the process.

The company hopes to eventually offer a low-cost object store service running off of the retired hard drives, Higgins said, but won't be "aggressively pursuing" the creation of that service for at least a month while it migrates existing customers onto the flash.

It is selling the storage service at a cost of $0.14 per gigabyte per month. "SSD storage is available un-bundled from other resources, including CPU and RAM, so customers can purchase gigabytes and IOPS with minimum guaranteed performance levels, without risking costly over- or under-provisioning," the company wrote.

Other cloud providers, including Databarracks and ViaWest, have all added the technology into their infrastructures to one extent or another. What distinguishes CloudSigma is its wholesale shift to SSD for the storage layer of its cloud – a shift we suspect is only possible by virtue of its relatively small scale.

The Swiss minnow has space in an Interxion colocation facility in Glattbrugg near Zurich, along with a cage in the huge SuperNAP bit barn in Las Vegas – so data located with the company could still be subject to sniffing by US intelligence agencies under FISA.

Cloud kingpin Amazon Web Services offers SSD-backed databases at the moment via DynamoDN, but has not yet tipped its hand for how much it will charge for standalone SSD storage-as-a-service. Google is yet to announce all-SSD services, and Microsoft unofficially runs its block storage cloud with the aid of flash gear from OCZ. For now, flash-backed storage is one of the few areas in the cloud where smaller companies are a shade ahead of larger ones. ®

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