The infrastructure-as-a-service-providers (IaaS) market is starting to exhibit a deeper diversity. Call it the “Cloud 2.0″ era if you will. ProfitBricks is one of these companies showing its muscle in this new arena with the announcement of the world’s largest instance size.
These large instance sizes scale to 62 cores and 240GB of RAM and reflect how the company is trying to differentiate against reigning cloud giant AWS. ProfitBricks pairs these giant, flexible instances with pricing granularity and super-fast InfiniBand networking technology.
The new instances are designed for companies that run large databases and multiple compute nodes in a cluster, or those that are looking for compute power to help run big data implementations. ProfitBricks U.S. CEO Bob Rizika said it offers high-performance networking by combining the large instance sizes with the InfiniBand networking that can run at 80 gigabytes per second.
ProfitBricks Cloud Platform Evangelist Pete Johnson likens IaaS to a game of Tetris – in which you are trying to fit various sizes of virtual machines on top of physical hardware to maximize utilization. This is particularly critical for a public cloud provider. With InfiniBand, ProfitBricks can rearrange the pieces, and at 80 Gbits/sec, its hypervisor can move a VM from one physical machine to another without the VM ever knowing. This helps maximize the physical hardware and keep prices competitive.
As a result, the company claims it has the best price-performance ratio. Customers can deploy fewer, more powerful instances. ProfitBricks bills by the minute and customers can provision any combination of CPU cores and RAM that they wish. They can change the number of CPU cores or amount of RAM on-the-fly, live, without rebooting the VM.
ProfitBricks raised $19.5 million in March and now has a total of $38.3 million in funding. Founders Achim Weiss and Andreas Gauger built 1&1 Internet, one of the world’s largest web-hosting providers with 70,000 servers and 10 million customers. The company has some muscle not only in funding, but also what it can offer in terms of scaling out and up. Scaling up allows for new apps to be deployed in an environment similar to AWS and means building out vertically to one stack with up to 62 cores.
Analyst Ben Kepes said this last September about ProfitBricks:
In order to reach these massive machine levels, ProfitBricks runs on its own proprietary virtual machine management software – this software has the ability to add cores to a virtual machine on the fly and, according to ProfitBricks, without disrupting the operation of the original machine. ProfitBricks does this by using a highly modified form of KVM.
AWS has specific instance sizes that come with preset cores and RAM allotments. ProfitBricks is exploiting the inevitable under or over utilization of instance types, which can affect profitability.
ProfitBricks shows how fast disruption can happen even in the cloud. It’s reminiscent in some respects to the build-out of factories in the Industrial Age. Companies that invested most wisely in their machinery could produce faster and offer a deeper variety of products. Today, companies are less inclined to own their own server farms, instead turning to the digital factories that can offer the most cost-efficient service and the capability to produce an ever-expanding variety of digital products.