Brennan IT — Brennan IT IaaS
"Get the cloud without the fluff," says Dave Stevens, founder and CEO of Brennan IT. With Brennan IT, you are engaging with an Australian-based ICT service provider that survived the first dotcom boom, and has been awarded multiple times, including being named in the BRW Fast100 list for seven consecutive years.
Brennan provides a personalised service that has seen it gain a significant customer base of 150 mid-sized Australian companies. In 2012, Brennan expects that growth from Cloud Computing will make up 30 per cent of its revenue.
Where Brennan IT gives warmth to the mid market is through the use of datacentres in different Australian states, and having the ability to ensure that data is backed up across them. There is flexibility with negotiating on the terms of the contract. Clients are also able to increase capacity as required without contract variation, and they can decrease by 50 per cent of the contracted amount. This is done through an online portal.
Cloud Central — Cloud Servers
Cloud Central is an award-winning, Australian-based cloud service provider. The company was conceived and built from the ground up to provide cloud computing services for Australian customers. A strong emphasis is placed on ensuring that data sovereignty remains in Australia for any storage used. In addition, there are multiple availability zones to facilitate geo-dispersed operations.
It not only targets traditional government and enterprise accounts, but also entrepreneurs, developers and online service providers that are building innovative new services. The founder himself, Kristoffer Sheather, participates in the wider Australian entrepreneurial and start-up community.
There is support for open standards and open-source software, such as OpenStack, which gives confidence to the Australian techie community.
Sign-up is online, and a portal is provided to control your environment. A knowledge base, tutorials, a Wiki and a blog are all available online with additional live support being available via telephone or through email.
Ninefold — Ninefold Cloud Computing and Storage
Ninefold is an Australian cloud computing provider that is backed by Macquarie Telecom, built from the ground up to be a cloud computing service provider.
Unlike some providers that see their primary audience as the enterprise, Ninefold is using online media to target the more technical ICT firms and Australian tech start-ups. You can sign up quickly online, and start using the offering within minutes. If you want to trial the service, you are given $50 credit, so you can use it initially to test if it meets your requirements or expectations.
Its Sneakernet facility allows you to post a hard drive containing your data. Ninefold will upload that data within three to five days of receipt, and then return the hard drive to you. This facility allows you to save cost and time when loading gigabytes or terabytes of data into cloud storage.
Ninefold also offers an API that has publicly available documentation. There is information there for using various programming languages, such as Java, Clojure, .NET, Ruby, Python, PHP and NodeJS, to leverage the API for compute and storage.
Optus — Optus Elevate
Rob Parcell, acting managing director Optus Business, states that he believes the future is in the cloud; so embrace it now, or be left behind.
Optus has an enterprise-style offering, using an enterprise-style sales engagement model to target enterprise customers and expectations. Marketed as reliable and secure, there are also likely interesting developments to come, as the company alludes to an Asia extension by mentioning its relationship with its Singtel parent.
Its cloud product is a private cloud for enterprise; Optus creates a virtual private datacentre that is hosted off premise in Optus' Australian datacentres. It leverages VMware's technology, so you should be able to readily migrate your existing enterprise environment with ease if it's also based on VMware. One of the strengths of the Optus offering is in security, through the use of dedicated networks to ensure trusted and superb response times for your applications.
Optus has a number of successful partnerships in the enterprise space, such as Curtin University in Western Australia and the Royal District Nursing Service in South Australia.
Telstra — Cloud Services, Virtual Servers
Telstra is starting to come good with its $800 million investment into cloud computing, with a range of new offerings. In a move away from merely supporting the Australian Enterprise ICT market, it has opened its doors to SMB businesses, as well.
Its new Cloud Services offering leverages its datacentres and expertise in networks; if required, you can access the service via a dedicated private network. This would be ideal if looking to move your ERP or CRM system onto a virtual server, as you can guarantee a minimal latency from your office to ensure responsive performance.
Another nice feature is that when you're importing your data to the cloud, Telstra can send a secure storage device to you. You can load your data onto it, return it to Telstra and the telco will load it onto the virtual server for you. If you've got gigabytes or terabytes of data, this will save you not only time, but also help to keep the initial migration costs down. Shifting terabytes of data over the internet can be very costly, not to mention disruptive to those using the internet for business in your organisation.
There are two pricing plan options available: subscription, and pay as you go. Subscription is used if you want fixed monthly costs for a particular configuration that will not change often. The pay-as-you-go option starts from $0.05 per hour (excluding GST), and can be used for burst-type workloads. Load balancing is included as a no-charge option to help with elasticity.
Initial sign up is manual at this stage, unless you have an existing business account with Telstra. Once established, an online portal with a shopping cart is available to review plans, configuration and pricing before purchasing.
UltraServe — Cloud Machines
UltraServe focuses on lower latency as the major advantage for having a datacentre in Australia. It's very open with the information you need to make a decision, and was the only organisation to give us a proposal with an expected budget for the reference architecture that we presented. It based the budget on previous experience, with scenarios presented that were similar to the reference architecture presented.
Its offering has been built from the company's success with a managed server offering, so you still need to initially engage with a consultant, but, in UltraServe's case, this person will be a technical sales engineer. Once signed up, you have access to the UltraServe console, so you can control your own cloud.
An API is in beta at the moment to manage your Cloud Machine infrastructure for situations where use of the self-service management portal is insufficient.
There's also an enterprise-grade virtual private datacentre option, with higher availability.