As the public cloud giants duke it out, it’s sometimes worth mentioning that there’s an array of smaller players who think they can play and prosper providing infrastructure to customers. Count Atlantic.net among them. The Orlando, Fla.-based cloud provider is now opening two new data centers — one in Toronto and another in Dallas. It already has an existing data center in Orlando.
Atlantic.net CEO Marty Puranik said his company offers a good — and, he insists, a cheaper — option to smaller companies than the big public cloud companies.
For one thing, Atlantic.net charges for compute capacity by the second, not by the minute or hour. That means no rounding up to the full hour if your application runs for 35 minutes. And the quoted price includes servers backed by redundant power supplies, storage and SSDs. It also includes bandwidth and I/O — the sort of charges that can add up in the public cloud arena.
But back to that by-the-second price — Amazon Web Services still charges per hour for EC2 compute; Google Cloud Engine is priced by the minute with a ten-minute minimum, and Microsoft Azure charges by the minute without a minimum.
Puranik knows that when most people think “cloud” they think AWS, which he agreed is great for webscale applications designed to utilize thousands of servers fronted by a load balancer. Those applications are set up so that if one or two servers fall over, it’s no big deal. But for smaller jobs, relying on 5 or 10 or 100 servers, a single server failing is a huge issue. Those are the accounts Atlantic.net targets.
The company says that more than a third of its accounts — 35 percent — are coming in from other cloud providers — but declined to provide any names. A quarter of the new accounts are coming from AWS, 5 percent from Rackspace and 5 percent from other providers, he said.
The race for customers is brutal, and lots of vendors promise robust infrastructure that can compete on price with the public cloud giants — VMware’s vCloud Hybrid Services (VcHS); CenturyLink; Verizon Cloud (still in beta) is another. The zillion dollar question is whether there are enough of those cloud-bound workloads to sustain more than a dozen cloud options.