TL; DR: Customers looking to deviate from cookie-cutter hosting plans with bundled resources and predetermined pricing may want to check out CloudSigma’s customizable Infrastructure-as-a-Service solutions, which include flexible, high-performance cloud servers. The company empowers users to gain control of their cloud environments through unbundled resources, a consumption-based pricing model, and a selection of datacenters spanning the globe. With an agile methodology and plans for further expansion based on customer need, CloudSigma is continuing to create opportunities for clients worldwide.
Every time she eats at a sub shop, my friend says she feels like she’s getting cheated. A medium sub at her favorite sandwich joint costs about $7, which covers bread, meat, cheese, sauce, and all the veggies one could ever want. Sadly, she only likes bread and ham — and typically finishes just half of her sandwich.
If subs were priced based on consumption, my toppings-adverse friend would have far more money in her pocket. But, while more selective than most, she’s not alone when it comes to her desire for usage-based pricing. In 2009, for example, Robert Jenkins and Patrick Bailie were working on a tech project when they found themselves craving a cloud solution with flexible pricing.
“They didn’t want to be bound to the cloud solutions available at that moment on the market — but there were no other options that suited their needs,” Vanya Nikova, Customer Development Manager at CloudSigma, said. “So they said, ‘OK, let’s offer a cloud service with a pricing model as close to utility billing as possible.’”
The pair subsequently built a cloud stack focused on flexible pricing and resources, and CloudSigma was born. Today, the company serves up high-performance, customizable cloud environments with transparent pricing based on CPU, RAM, storage, and data usage.
“Our customers can configure the server sizes, drives, and infrastructure the way they want,” Vanya said. “The ability to define their infrastructure is the No. 1 reason customers choose CloudSigma.”
Achieve Greater Control Through Unbundled, Customizable Resources
CloudSigma’s client base runs the gamut, from medium-sized businesses to intergovernmental organizations like the European Space Agency. Vanya told us the company also serves quite a few clients in the tech industry.
“People in the technology field tend to appreciate our intuitive, user-friendly platform,” Vanya said. “Some of the clients we work with offer various Software-as-a-Service solutions that need to be accessible from all over the world and thus require reliable connectivity through the cloud.”
Vanya said data analytics companies make up another core customer group. “To handle big data you have to have a lot of compute power, and that is what we specialize in,” Vanya said. “We have found that a lot of customers running data workloads find working with CloudSigma beneficial because of performance as well as the lack of fixed server sizes, which leads to better cost efficiency.”
When CloudSigma claims to offer customers complete control and flexibility over their cloud environments, they mean it. Along with flexible server sizing, users can run any operating system unmodified and choose from purchase durations of one hour, one month, one year, and three years. Alternatively, customers can take advantage of the company’s automatic billing system, which checks usage every five minutes and creates charges accordingly.
Instead of typical, prepackaged plans, the company’s custom cloud infrastructure calculator allows users to define compute resources such as CPU, RAM, SSD storage, and data transfer down to the gigabyte. However, all accounts include 1GB RAM, 50GB SSD, and 5TB data transfer per month for free.
A Robust Global Infrastructure Created Through Strategic Partnerships
According to Vanya, CloudSigma’s strategic partnerships with datacenter providers in the US, Europe, the Middle East, and Australia allow the company to offer secure and reliable global cloud infrastructure solutions with excellent connectivity.
“We started as a traditional cloud provider,” Vanya said. “We would choose a datacenter, buy our own equipment, host it there, and install our own cloud stack, but we moved to a cloud-as-a-service model that allowed us to grow through partnerships with local datacenter providers, managed service providers, and telecom operators with their own datacenters.”
CloudSigma works with a range of Tier III infrastructure providers in some interesting locations — such as its Honolulu facility, which provides a low-latency cloud option for the state of Hawaii. The company also has dual locations spanning the east and west coast of Australia that improve customers’ geographical load balancing, latency performance, and data redundancy. Plans are also underway to expand its CloudSigma’s global footprint into the New Zealand market next year.
“This allows us to access local knowledge through partners in these markets — for example, in Honolulu, where we don’t have any local knowledge, and the same with Saudi Arabia, our newest location,” Vanya said. “We rely on their knowledge and expertise as extended arms of CloudSigma in our different regions.”
Vanya said it’s a win-win arrangement, allowing local facilities an opportunity to expand their service offerings while providing CloudSigma extended reach. The partnerships also provide CloudSigma a chance to increase profit. “It’s tough to grow in a competitive market if we have to rely on our capacities alone,” Vanya said. “Once we started working with datacenter partners, we began to grow at a very rapid pace.”
An Agile Methodology That Aids Both Development and Customer Service
While CloudSigma’s long-term goal is to map out potential product development efforts on an annual basis, the company also relies on an agile methodology to make short-term adjustments based on customer feedback and market changes.
Vanya told us the method they rely on is called Scrum, a framework for Agile development that divides time into incremental “sprints,” or biweekly periods used to inspect feedback and adapt accordingly.
“Every two weeks our team meets to define our path forward and also review the previous two weeks,” Vanya said. “We base our product pipeline on customer surveys, general market trends, and comments from our datacenter partners,” she said.
One example of the company’s adaptability is its experience with the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF), a meteorological research institute that houses one of the largest supercomputer facilities and weather data archives in existence. More specifically, the ECMWF offers a catalog of forecast data available for purchase by businesses worldwide.
“They needed to send huge amounts of weather data to some of their clients but couldn’t do it over the regular internet due to speed limitations,” Vanya said. “Since the ECMWF is a public institution, we reached out to the GÉANT network, which provides a highly reliable and secure connection between universities and research institutions in Europe.”
In just two weeks, CloudSigma established connectivity between its own network and Janet to satisfy the ECMWF’s needs. “This is something that other, less agile, cloud providers may not be able to deliver in such short periods of time,” Vanya said.
Coming Soon: Datacenter Expansion and Disaster Recovery Services
To further expand its reach, CloudSigma will partner with additional datacenter facilities in the near future. “We are looking forward to opening a couple of new locations in Asia and one in Japan by the end of this year, as well as a few more next year,” Vanya said.
In terms of product development, the company has launched a disaster recovery functionality in the Philippines and Saudi Arabia that it plans to make available in all datacenter locations by the end of the year.
“This is something that will enable our customers to operate in high-availability scenarios,” Vanya said. “It will also create possibilities for customers who are afraid — or perhaps not allowed — to have their primary location in the cloud because of laws or internal policies.”
With disaster recovery, Vanya told us those customers could instead leverage the cloud as a failover option.
“This is a cool feature because it basically works as hypervisor independent and can be applied for all operating systems and applications,” she said. “We’re quite excited about this because it’s something we have worked on for a long time. By the end of the year, we’ll be releasing a lot of webinars around this feature.”
For customers looking for a flexible cloud solution, this new offering will provide yet another customizable option. If sandwich shops would catch on, we’d be set.