DreamHost’s OpenStack-powered EC2 rival comes out of beta

DreamHost is best known as a web hosting service, but the company has also long been a major contributor to the open source OpenStack platform for enterprises. For the last few years, it’s also been running its own OpenStack-based cloud computing service DreamCompute in beta.

Today, DreamCompute is coming out of beta and announcing a new pricing model that’s a mix of pay-as-you-go pricing and predictable monthly plans.

DreamCompute, which combines OpenStack with the Ceph storage system and Dreamhost-incubated Project Astara network orchestration service, is a direct challenger to Amazon’s EC2 cloud computing service.

Based on its long experience with running DreamCompute in beta with about 1,200 customers, the team rolled out a completely new architecture in DreamHost’s U.S.-East data center. According to the company’s VP for Cloud Jonathan LaCour, this new architecture provides almost twice the performance of DreamCompute’s beta service. The team started working on this new architecture about a year ago. As LaCour told me, the team quickly realized that its users wanted SSD storage, for example, and were more interested in fast single-core performance than having lots of core available to them.

Because DreamCompute sits on top of OpenStack, developers can get full root access to their machines and also use the OpenStack APIs to work with them.

DreamHost charges for machines on a per-hour basis, but you never pay for more than 25 days per month. Pricing starts at $4.50 per month. On the old cluster with traditional hard drives, that’ll get you a 1GB machines with one virtual CPU, though on the faster SSD-based cluster, that’ll only pay for 512MB of RAM (a 1GB machine will set you back $6/month). Every DreamCompute cluster comes with 100GB of free block storage. You can find DreamCompute’s pricing table here.

With today’s launch, the company is also launching a new knowledge base to help its users run their applications on its service. All the information is published on GitHub and the company encourages its users to fork it and then contribute back to the project. Over time, LaCour tells me, the company may also give some incentives to users who contribute tutorials and other documentation (similar to what Linode does, I assume).