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2008: Decision Year for RIAs - October 20-22, 2008 San Jose


ProfitBricks: Live Virtual Scaling by the Minute
It claims to have completely re-engineered cloud computing and went GA with its widgetry in the US on Monday

A two-and-a-half-year-old Berlin-based Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) start-up you never heard of called ProfitBricks thinks it can take on Amazon Web Services and win.

By its lights the likes of Amazon, Rackspace, Savvis and GoGrid are all first-generation and it's not.

It claims to have completely re-engineered cloud computing and went GA with its widgetry in the US on Monday. The stuff's reportedly been running in Europe for six months and has amassed 70,000 servers.

It says it's first to offer live vertical scaling of CPU cores and RAM without forcing the user to reboot the server.

Nobody has been able to add resources to an instance (a virtual machine) without taking the server down before, it says.

That means the infrastructure can be tweaked on-the-fly.

ProfitBricks is also offering larger instances than other IaaS players. Users don't have to squeeze into pre-selected server sizes established to increase SPs' margins anymore.

With ProfitBricks a single instance can have one to a database-loving 48 cores and one to 196 gigs of RAM, a lot bigger than Amazon's one to 16 virtual cores and one to 60GB of RAM.

Its widgetry scales horizontally so users don't have to rewrite software or overprovision - the typical if pricey way of protecting oneself from having to reboot.

And all its cores are dedicated, not shared, relieving users of the risk and overhead of multi-tenant co-location and dedicated hosting solutions.

It claims to have better performance than AWS with 227% higher UnixBench scores and 194% faster I/O than Rackspace.

It also claims better pricing and charges by the minute, which would particularly appeal to folks whose web traffic is spiky. Pricing is based on only four parameters. It says there are no hidden or additional fees for things beyond control or measurability for the customer, e.g., I/O access.

ProfitBricks has a virtualized network - basically your newfangled software-defined networking - built on InfiniBand that customers can use to replicate whatever they can do locally including patch panels and switches in its cloud.

It says with up to eight ports per server, connection speeds 8x faster than Ethernet, and free back-end network connections, customers can build any network configurations they want. They don't have to adapt to their service provider. They have, it says, "complete network freedom in the cloud."

ProfitBricks also has a Data Center Designer (DCD) GUI.

Users can drag-and-drop resource like a Visio diagram to design, provision and deploy a cloud environment. It makes managing and scaling the thing a lot easier. People can kiss those God awful spreadsheets they currently use good-bye.

The widgetry can also be used to build private clouds.

ProfitBricks CEO Achim Weiss said, "We deconstructed cloud infrastructure down to its most basic elements and discovered there was a far better way to deliver the service. We ended up reinventing the architecture, which allows us to offer substantially better performance and a new level of flexibility in cloud infrastructure. Our platform allows ProfitBricks to offer unprecedented services at prices others cannot touch because of legacy design and built-in costs."

ProfitBricks was started by Weiss and Andreas Gauger, who previously co-founded 1&1, the web hosting operation acquired by United Internet AG that was doing a $2 billion-a-year in 2010. 1&1 reportedly makes United Internet a tidy profit so, hoping lightning strikes twice, it's also backing ProfitBricks to the tune of taking a 30% piece.

The company has offices in Boston headed by US CEO Bob Rizika and 100 people in 16 countries. Operating on $17 million in initial funding from its founders and United Internet ProfitBricks will likely be looking for another $20 million-$25 million next year.

The start-up has patents pending on its widgetry according to Rizika.

About Maureen O'Gara
Maureen O'Gara the most read technology reporter for the past 20 years, is the Cloud Computing and Virtualization News Desk editor of SYS-CON Media. She is the publisher of famous "Billygrams" and the editor-in-chief of "Client/Server News" for more than a decade. One of the most respected technology reporters in the business, Maureen can be reached by email at maureen(at)sys-con.com or paperboy(at)g2news.com, and by phone at 516 759-7025. Twitter: @MaureenOGara

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