Australian clouds compared

Australian clouds compared

Summary: Cloud has matured in Australia. We take a look at some of the providers available, putting them head to head.

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Products

We are using Amazon Web Services (AWS) as a baseline US provider to compare our Australian clouds against. The Australian clouds we have looked at are listed below.

(data center image by jodax, royalty free)

Area9

Area9 has helped over 500 businesses across regional and urban northern Australia to obtain the advantage of cloud services following the 2011 launch of its Northern Territory-based cloud-computing centre, letting the traditionally rural industry region compete effectively in local, national, and global markets.

Recognised by both IT research firm Longhaus and Telstra with several awards, Area9's approach is to promote the benefits of a local cloud, successfully merging global IT practices and solutions with the needs of northern Australian business.

CloudCentral

Established in 2009, CloudCentral was designed to allow the storage of data and applications on a pay-as-you-grow basis, with no upfront commitments necessary. CloudCentral's cloud products are highly scalable and hosted in geographically dispersed datacentre facilities in an open cloud infrastructure, but the company guarantees that your data will remain in Australia.

Suitable for internet services, prototyping, databases, and software as a service (SaaS), CloudCentral provides a scalable service that suits startups to multinationals — you can increase the size of existing servers or delete redundant servers and see the effect immediately.

The company's products also include free load balancers for optimum performance and a graphical remote console that gives you full visibility of your servers.

CSC Australia

CSC offers a range of cloud services, including CloudCompute (IaaS), private cloud service BizCloud, CloudDesktop, and CloudLab, which meet the need for temporary cloud compute and storage resources and Cloud IU for SAP.

The company believes that cloud management will be a core requirement for CIOs in the future, and that they're going to demand data security, IaaS service transparency, and value beyond just cost savings. Now 18 months old, CSC's cloud portfolio is part of a global network of 13 datacentres.

Dimension Data

Dimension Data's Managed Cloud Platform is aimed at making things easy. Customers can manage everything through a CloudControl portal, automating provisioning, orchestration, administration, and billing. The company is both a cloud provider and a systems integrator, which facilitates simple planning, design, deployment, and management of private, public, and hybrid clouds.

All products are delivered and managed through the same platform, so whether you're a startup or you have an established IaaS deployment need, it's cost effective and easy to migrate between models as your business evolves.

Dimension Data offers guarantees on availability, performance, and service experience, and a full suite of technical support options for specialist areas like patch management, device configuration, and backup. The common architecture across its cloud environments lets customers interconnect projects or data to support bursting or easy switches between private or public models.

Fujitsu

Fujitsu's cloud service includes IaaS, platform as a service (PaaS), and SaaS. The company claims that its Australian-based and environmentally friendly datacentres offer the most comprehensive range of configuration options in Australia, and let customers match technology systems and costs to changing business needs.

Fujitsu's self-service portal gives users access to a service that's online with "99.999 percent availability" and covers everything from backup and disaster recovery to packaged applications. There's also an industry-standard assessment service that analyses customers' current data environment and advises the best cloud product for their needs and budget. The company would not provide pricing, however, so it has not been included in the table.

Ninefold

Ninefold offers locally stored and secure data, free local support, self-service flexibility, and low latency. Backed by Macquarie Telecom, the company has the resources to offer enterprise-grade cloud infrastructure.

There's online sign-up, and customers can enter their details and provision virtual servers and cloud storage within minutes, scaling up and down when needed. Ninefold also offers an AU$50 discount on their service for testing.

Ninefold's customers include developers, incubators, entrepreneurs, startups, and partners, and the company has a strong commitment to communication through initiatives that range from mentoring and hackathon VMs to sponsorship programs.

Optus PowerOn

Formerly Optus Elevate, Optus PowerOn offers a self-service portal and stores data in the company's Australian ISO 27001-certified data facilities. An on-premise private cloud-service solution is forthcoming. In the second half of 2012, Optus will be making improvements across its cloud services.

It has pay-as-you-consume and "burstable" pricing models, in addition to the current fixed price. A new enterprise cloud storage service is on the way, as is a regional solution, which lets customers with regional operations access virtual capacity across multiple clouds, but manage resources from a single portal.

An interesting value-add is Optus' Cloud Readiness Assessment to help customers assess whether they're ready to move applications into the cloud. It will include guiding strategy, assessing the most suitable applications, and looking at the security and governance policies.

OrionVM

Formed in a university dorm in 2010, OrionVM launched the latest version of its IaaS product — CloudDC — in April 2011, and was immediately benchmarked as the world's fastest public cloud by CloudHarmony.com

OrionVM has said that CloudDC — built predominantly for ISVs, development and test environments, websites, internal applications, and web or mobile apps, particularly SaaS products — offers reliability and ease of use for developers and IT managers.

It's both Windows and Linux friendly, has comprehensive documentation to support the API, and 24-7 Australia-based phone support. Physical and virtual security is imposed by a tier-4 federal government-approved datacentre, and the service counts the NSW Government among its users.

Rackspace

Rackspace recently announced that it will be opening an Australian datacentre. However, it hasn't made the pricing for the Australian-based service available yet, so we have not included it in the table. Last year, it's inclusion was as a US-based comparison service.

Telstra

Telstra is continuing its AU$800 million investment into cloud computing with a revamp of the Telstra Cloud Services portal, which allows the online purchase and management of its virtual server range. The company said that it has also introduced sharper subscription pricing and significantly increased internet traffic in subscription packages that are purchased before December 31, 2012.

There are two pricing plans: subscription and pay as you go. Plans start from AU$200 (excluding GST) per month, and provide fixed monthly costs for a mostly static configuration. The pay-as-you-go option starts from AU$0.05 per hour (excluding GST), and can be used for burst-type workloads. Dedicated server packages are also available, starting from AU$2,500 (excluding GST) per month.

Telstra has recently launched a backup-as-a-service (BaaS) offering, which allows any customer connected to Telstra's Next IP network to back up their server data in the cloud using a simple software client installed on their server.

UltraServe

The biggest advantage to the locally stored data that UltraServe focuses on is low latency.

Customers can sign up online with a credit card for immediate access to the platform, or can work with a technical sales engineer to determine the most cost-effective plan for each customer's requirements.

Customers have access to the MyUltraServe portal, which lets you control and auto-provision your Cloud Machines and Virtual Data Centres. An API is then available to manage your Cloud Machine infrastructure for configurations such as auto-scaling of services.

There's also an enterprise-grade virtual private datacentre option, offering additional managed servers such as managed patching, backup, and monitoring.

ZettaGrid

Perth-based ZettaGrid prides itself on its automation. The very simple web browser access system gives absolute control of scale and provision to the user in real time. With four datacentres in Sydney and Perth and two coming online in Melbourne in a matter of weeks, the company has three separate environments, and can isolate issues that are present in one datacentre so that they don't affect the others.

The provider grew out of an 18-year-old ISP company that's still in business, and it gives existing ZettaGrid-connected customers a competitive advantage in free traffic to cloud services.

The service has been scored highly by CloudHarmony.com. When it comes to architecture speed, ZettaGrid claims its cloud is four times faster than AWS.

Topics: Cloud, Virtualization, Optus, Telstra, Australia

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