We Price Out 7 Cloud Providers So You Don't Have To4:00 PM EST Fri. Nov. 16, 2012
As solution providers pivot away from their traditional role as technology providers of on-premise solutions, they must choose from a dizzying array of cloud Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) providers, including Amazon, Google and Rackspace and, increasingly, technology giants such as Hewlett-Packard, Microsoft and IBM.
These big cloud providers can't serve businesses alone. The complexity of migrating to the cloud, varied pricing and usage models, and cloud providers' sometimes spotty services and poor communications mean there's an enormous opportunity for solution providers to step in and act as brokers to the cloud with services, consulting, software development, equipment and more.
Solution providers need to choose the right cloud provider to ensure they can survive and prosper in the new cloud era. It's not an easy task. They have to evaluate myriad factors to establish working relationships with these cloud hosters, all while revamping their own business and keeping up with a fast-changing industry.
The cost of operating in the cloud is an important consideration for solution providers evaluating a cloud strategy. Although service, collaboration and reliability can help or hinder a cloud engagement, pricing can't be overlooked.
Solution providers building a cloud business will have to contract with IaaS providers to host the IT assets of their clients, so what the IaaS providers charge will be a key component of their cost of doing business, said Jeff Kaplan, founder of consulting firm ThinkStrategies. "The lower the bulk costs of IaaS, the lower the costs to the [solution provider]," Kaplan said. In an iPad exclusive review, CRN tracked the complex pricing structures of seven IaaS providers to show what it costs to do business in the cloud.
The findings: Microsoft Windows Azure, Google and Rackspace are generally the most expensive cloud services providers, while HP and Amazon Web Services are the least expensive among established cloud providers. IBM SmartCloud's costs are in the middle range.
The figures are based on data compiled with the help of Cloud Spectator, a Boston-based research and analysis firm that measures and compares IaaS cloud server performance and pricing. Cloud Spectator analyzed the cost of a midsize cloud server workload of four processor cores, 8 GB of RAM and 100 GB of disk space to calculate yearly, monthly and hourly costs providers would charge. Such a workload would be commonly used by businesses and would be a middle ground between small server workloads and very large workloads.
Startup ProfitBricks, Cambridge, Mass., however, is offering a new pricing model that is markedly below all the established vendors. Its cloud pricing model lets users access less expensive and more flexible cloud services with a pay-per-minute plan and the ability to change workloads on the fly. With ProfitBricks added into the survey comparisons, its costs would be the lowest in almost every scenario.
To help solution providers as they make their move to cloud services, here's a look at the cloud provider landscape with all its pitfalls, opportunities, and the cost of working with each provider.
NEXT: Opportunity Knocks
The cloud market is large and growing rapidly. The largest cloud provider by far is Amazon Web Services, Seattle. Amazon's cloud business, according to research firm IDC, is expected to reach $1 billion in 2012, way ahead of any competitors, and the company has cut prices 19 times since AWS launched to try to ensure no one will beat it in that category.
But Amazon has a reputation for sometimes poor communication with partners, in keeping with its roots as an automated, online books retailer that doesn't expect personal interaction.
Also, Amazon, along with other cloud providers such as Rackspace, Google and Microsoft Windows Azure, have all suffered outages during which they failed to promptly communicate with partners.
Under these circumstances, partners can tap into significant opportunities to act as intermediaries for clients looking to the cloud. The gains are there to be had, experts say. The upheaval created by cloud computing is creating an opening for solution providers to become trusted partners or cloud brokers to businesses as they move to the cloud.
"The cloud is creating more than an opportunity for solution providers," said Rauline Ochs, a former Oracle channel chief and senior vice president of IPED MarketBridge Alliance, a research and consulting firm affiliated with UBM, the parent company of CRN. "It's an imperative. If they don't figure out how to participate, their revenue will not stay as it was."
The cloud business model differs from legacy IT equipment sales and instead follows a subscription-based business model to create a recurring revenue stream from services.
Ochs estimated that cloud services will grow five times faster than overall IT growth, or 19 percent annually through 2015. In addition, by 2014, 25 percent to 30 percent of IT spending will be used toward cloud-related services rather than traditional IT functions.
"The traditional reseller business isn't going away," she said. "But you should be prepared to capitalize on the 30 percent of the new business."
A study conducted by IPED MarketBridge and UBM and published in March 2012 showed that traditional data center growth will remain fairly steady but the cloud business model will increase significantly from 2011 to 2013, as shown in the following forecast:
Standard customer-owned data center use will decline slightly from 88 percent to 87 percent.
On-site managed services will increase from 54 percent to 55 percent.
Off-site managed services will grow from 51 percent to 59 percent.
Public cloud usage will jump from 32 percent to 41 percent.
Private cloud usage will rise from 40 percent to 50 percent.
Another IPED study estimated that the average gross margins for managed services providers will reach 54.1 percent, compared to 28.8 percent for on-premise product resales.
NEXT: Capitalizing On The Cloud
CAPITALIZING ON THE CLOUD
Solution providers who have ventured into the cloud world say they are finding success.
Jeremy Pryzgode, CEO and founder of Santa Monica, Calif.-based Stratalux, a managed services provider and systems integrator who works with Amazon, said his company has capitalized on opportunities working as a cloud broker.
"We help companies migrate to the cloud, and we manage services on top of Amazon Web Services," Pryzgode said. "Amazon doesn't have managed services offerings, so we provide this service.
"You need to manage the infrastructure," he added. "Amazon is a reliable service, but if you process 50 servers, one is going to die once every two months. There is always some sort of issue with access. If there are four app servers, one will die because it's running on commodity hardware."
Pryzgode said Stratalux, an Amazon Gold partner, is able to perform services for companies where Amazon is not equipped. "Amazon doesn't have access to the [client's] operating system under the hood. That's where we come in."
Another cloud leader among solution providers is GreenPages Technology Solutions, Kittery, Maine, with $107 million in revenue. GreenPages CEO Ron Dupler said his company works with several cloud providers; he believes many are not yet mature so he has not settled on one.
GreenPages has strong technology partnerships with VMware, CA Technologies and IndependenceIT and uses a variety of cloud providers, including Rackspace, Amazon, iland and Verizon's Terremark division.
"The good news is customers want to talk with you," Dupler said. "The need for a trusted adviser has never been greater. They still trust us, but [solution providers] need to have the skills because the technology under the cloud is complex." Dupler said the strategy for bringing a business customer to a cloud model will vary by the customer's needs.
"The key is knowing your role," Dupler said. "Once you decide the role you want to play, you can select the right [IaaS] partners, such as VMware, CA or Rackspace to see which of these can provide the right services for your customer. But the relationship between solution providers and these [cloud] providers is an emerging space; it's very new. Nobody I can name has a well-defined strategy.""
Jeremy DeSpain is co-founder and COO of Explore Consulting, a Bellevue, Wash.-based professional services solution provider founded in 2001 that offers Oracle, NetSuite and Microsoft applications. He said he has developed successful relationships with Amazon, Rackspace, Microsoft Windows Azure and others; each has different pricing models.
"We're the intermediaries," DeSpain said. "Companies are hearing all this cloud stuff. They've got an idea and they say to us, 'Does this application fit well with the cloud?' We explain Amazon to them. Right now we are working as a consultant for one company and measuring the requirements and helping them make a decision on what platform might work best for them."
Explore Consulting has a history of working in cloud-related activities, having built a platform for a Web-based database to help the National Football League and the National Football Scouting combine, capture and distribute player data.
But Explore had to alter its business model to keep up with the growth of cloud computing and the changes it's bringing to business data centers.
"We definitely had to change our ways," DeSpain said. "We used to go on-site and we sat with the clients in their office and installed servers and applications. Now, 95 percent of the work is virtual, online collaboration. People are comfortable with this because of the cost savings. It's quicker and more efficient and more sustainable."
With the cloud characterized by hosted, on-demand business models offering Software-as-a-Service and Platform-as-a-Service in addition to IaaS, payment often comes over time as recurring revenue, IPED MarketBridge Alliance's Ochs said.
Consequently, solution providers working in the cloud can no longer rely totally on one-time sales of IT equipment. The cloud revenue model for solution providers is similar to receiving life insurance premiums.
"We want to get VARs to think like insurance agents," Ochs said. "When they are starting, VARs can sell cloud contracts, but they don't have to resell them every year."
Terry Wise, director of business development for Amazon Web Services, characterized solution provider margins similarly. "Cloud capacity tends to be high volume, low margin," he said. "So margins are made up of annuity streams over time. The cloud is pretty sticky. You deploy Amazon Web Services for a customer and the customer tends to stay with you over time."
The IPED MarketBridge and UBM survey showed that managed service providers using recurring revenue models experienced growth in the following categories:
54 percent gross margins for cloud-based services.
48 percent gross margins for off-premise hosted services.
35 percent gross margins for on-premise hosted services.
29 percent gross margins for on-premise product sales.
Solution providers seeking to develop a cloud service should examine the cloud providers, judging which ones offer the best prices and level of support. Support can vary greatly and impact prices. For example, AWS is largely a self-service cloud provider, offering automated processes. In contrast, Rackspace markets itself as offering "fanatical support" and charges for it. Following is a breakdown of the providers.
NEXT: 'The Market Is Huge'
AMAZON WEB SERVICES: 'THE MARKET IS HUGE'
Amazon Web Services was first to the cloud scene in 2002, opening up its massive online retail technology infrastructure to host other companies' IT resources. It staked a claim as the cloud leader and has not relinquished it.
With its "We will not be undersold" strategy, the company has repeatedly cut prices and in 2011 added more than 80 services and another 28 in the first quarter of 2012.
Calculating prices for a medium-size server workload, the survey by CRN and Cloud Spectator showed Amazon would post the lowest cost for a yearly contract, with $1,790 per year, well below the $3,656 average of the seven providers studied.
For costs by a monthly contract, Amazon would charg $314, below the monthly average of $329, but more than ProfitBricks, HP and IBM. For costs by hour, Amazon would charg 45 cents, the study's average, and more than ProfitBricks, HP and IBM.
Although the company has developed a reputation for being aloof and automated in keeping with its online heritage, AWS business development director Wise said Amazon believes partners are an essential part of its future.
Wise said Amazon essentially serves two customers. One type is ISVs making products available to customers over Amazon's platform or providing SaaS hosting on the platform.
The other customers are cloud partners and systems integrators. "It's very important that customers have partners they can work with to develop, deploy and open applications on Amazon Web Services," he said.
Amazon is looking for partners, Wise said. "A key criteria of our channel program is that they must add value," he said. "Customers are really looking for the higher value level of services -- application management services, business process management [and] business process optimization."
Solution providers can find opportunities acting as advisers for companies seeking to use AWS, which, some view as complex to navigate.
"There are a lot of opportunities regarding where and how cloud partners can leverage Amazon's Web Services," said ThinkStrategies' Kaplan.
Kaplan listed three areas where partners can work with AWS: adding functionality to Amazon services to meet client business needs; delivering Amazon services as a hosting platform; or using Amazon to power their own operations.
"Cloud partners can act as trusted advisers and can be principal players influencing their [the businesses'] decision and helping companies achieve their objective," Kaplan said.
However, Amazon, like several other cloud providers, has experienced cloud outages. On Oct. 22, AWS went down in its Northern Virginia data center complex; the service disruption lasted most of the day and caused website outages to scores of customers using that service area, including Reddit, Pinterest and Airnb. Earlier this year, in mid-June, a power outage cut services to customers in the same Northern Virginia data complex for about six hours.
Kevin Chu, director of systems and infrastructure with digital marketing and technology company Digitaria, said the Amazon outages did not appreciably affect his company's clients because Digitaria had service contracts for them with Amazon in two service areas, as Amazon recommends. Chu said that placing service contracts with Amazon in more than one service area is advisable, although this incurs extra costs. Educating clients that redundancy isn't built into the cloud is one of the biggest hurdles his company faces, he said.
Amazon has been criticized for its poor communication after its outages, but Wise said the company's dashboard of service availability has become more transparent and the company has worked to help partners develop best practices on developing redundant systems.
Amazon also has worked to make its service more palatable to enterprise use, unveiling a series of features for businesses this year.
In April, Amazon Web Services opened an online store for customers to buy software and services that would help them manage their business on Amazon's cloud. Called AWS Marketplace, the online store offers a variety of technology and business software, such as databases, application servers, developer tools and business applications.
In April, AWS upgraded its cloud partner program, asking its partners to qualify for levels of expertise to receive added benefits, including marketing and sales support, and more technical information. Called the AWS Partner Network, the program, now in beta, invites partners to qualify for "Standard" or "Advanced" tiers.
As far as competitors, Amazon is not thinking about them. "We believe the market is huge," Wise said. "We believe there will be multiple winners."
NEXT: HP Starts Late But Gains On The Pack
HP STARTS LATE BUT GAINS ON THE PACK
HP's Converged Cloud, unveiled in April, is leveraging HP's broad technology portfolio, infrastructure and services, and enormous partner network.
HP, although late to the cloud game, placed among the lowest-priced cloud services in CRN/Cloud Spectator's analysis. For a medium-size cloud server workload for a year, its price would be $2,803, below the average price of $3,656.
For monthly use of a medium server workload, HP would charge $233, less than the average of $329, only higher than ProfitBricks. For an hourly rate, HP would charge 32 cents, below the average of 45 cents and again, only higher than ProfitBricks.
HP has set current beta pricing for current users and will double those prices when it goes to general availability. This survey used higher prices that will go into effect at general availability.
In early June, HP established CloudSystem, which enables businesses and solution providers to build and manage cloud services across private and public clouds. CloudSystem will let HP cloud customers add cloud capacity from Amazon Web Services and Savvis.
"Offering solution providers access to Savvis and Amazon as well as the HP Cloud is consistent with choices and opportunities we think are going to be created in the cloud," said Francis Guida, manager of cloud solutions for the Enterprise Group at HP, Palo Alto, Calif.
Also in June, HP unveiled its CloudAgile channel program designed to help service providers and solution providers deliver hybrid cloud services.
HP partners can leverage its cloud platform and products through the HP CloudAgile program. Partners can team with HP to provide customers with hosted, managed and cloud-based services. HP CloudAgile service providers can use HP's Converged Cloud offerings, such as HP CloudSystem and a range of services.
"The folks who are going to get on board and broker cloud services will be the channel partners that are most successful at this," said Kelley Lynch, worldwide cloud marketing manager for service provider alliances at HP.
HP is a member of the OpenStack Foundation to support open standards for cloud building but is also creating APIs for easy access to Amazon, showing it is playing no favorites.
SHI International, a Somerset, N.J.-based solution provider and longtime HP partner, jumped in early to work with HP in the cloud. SHI is taking advantage of HP's broad array of cloud services, said Henry Fastert, chief technologist and managing partner at SHI's enterprise solutions services group.
"We've had a long relationship with HP, as a customer and as a reseller," Fastert said. "We became a member of the CloudAgile program, which allows HP sales reps to sell our solutions to customers."
SHI is also managing data centers in a cloud model with the help of HP IaaS, providing dedicated networking as well as security, performance and availability, Fastert added.
"We offered a large array of services in the classic VAR model, and we looked at the cloud as a logical extension of what we always did," Fastert said.
With several of its cloud program launches coming this year, HP is behind providers such as Amazon and Rackspace that have been offering cloud services for several years, Kerravala added.
NEXT: IBM SmartCloud Banks On Partners
IBM SMARTCLOUD BANKS ON PARTNERS
Like HP, IBM also is drawing on a deep portfolio of products and services for its cloud offering and seeks to draw a huge stable of partners and customers into its cloud service.
IBM's SmartCloud offers IaaS, Paas and SaaS as well IBM products and services under three areas: SmartCloud Foundation, SmartCloud Services and SmartCloud Solutions.
SmartCloud is in the middle of the pack in pricing. For a medium-size server workload for one year, SmartCloud would cost $3,768, above the average of $3,656, according to the CRN/Cloud Spectator study.
For monthly usage, SmartCloud would cost $314, below the average price of $329, and for hourly use, SmartCloud would cost 43 cents, below the average of 45 cents.
The Armonk, N.Y., company said it is actively recruiting partners to extend the reach of its cloud services.
Ed Bottini, head of IBM's SmartCloud Ecosystem, said solution provider margins for working with SmartCloud are at 20 percent to 40 percent compound growth.
Partners can specialize as application providers, cloud builders, infrastructure providers, service solution providers and technology partners. "We are looking for partners that will add value on top of our platform," he said. "Customers tell us we need to work with third parties to deliver value.
"What you're seeing is a change in what customers are asking us to deliver so I think there will probably be a weeding out [of solution providers]," Bottini added.
One IBM SmartCloud partner, Vision Solutions, Irvine, Calif., is leveraging SmartCloud's broad portfolio to offer multiple services to clients. Visions Solutions offers high availability, replication, disaster recovery and data sharing.
"SmartCloud is a very intuitive and easy-to-use platform," said Karthik Balachandran, senior strategist at Vision Solutions. "You can move almost your entire IT department to the cloud.
"IBM also offers Software-as-a-Service and Platform-as-a-Service applications for MSPs to access, so they can have one throat to choke," Balachandran added.
NEXT: 'Open Is Better'
RACKSPACE: 'OPEN IS BETTER'
Rackspace has set itself up as a cloud leader with its open-source, interoperable cloud platform. Rackspace, San Antonio, is the co-founder of the OpenStack standard, which supports vendor interoperability while providers such as Amazon use proprietary software in their platform. Rackspace CEO Lanham Napier criticized Amazon earlier this year, saying it stifles innovation.
"Amazon's proprietary system cultivates customer lock-in," Napier said in an interview with CRN in April. "We think OpenStack will be the technology standard and our fanatical support will be the service standard. We're trying to create a better service."
Rackspace has risen rapidly and in 2011 reported revenue of $1 billion. Rackspace costs per medium cloud server workload were higher than average for yearly, monthly and hourly contracts, but less expensive than Google and Microsoft in all three categories, according to the CRN/Cloud Spectator survey.
On a yearly basis, Rackspace's medium-size workload would cost $4,204, above the $3,656 average as calculated by CRN and Cloud Spectator. Monthly, the company would charge $350, above the $329 average, and it would charge 48 cents hourly, above the average of 45 cents.
The company argues that the OpenStack standard helps partners by letting them use whatever vendor product they choose in building a cloud stack. "For a cloud partner, open is better," he said. "They are in charge of their practice. They can add a lot more value in that program. Amazon is not a value-added service."
In early April, Rackspace turned ownership of the OpenStack platform over to the OpenStack Foundation. More than 150 companies are now participating in the project, including IBM, HP and Red Hat. And in August, Rackspace gave customers the ability to expand its cloud services with the first large-scale deployment of an OpenStack-powered public cloud.
Since August, Rackspace has unveiled a suite of cloud products and services that give partners a variety of options in migrating customers to the cloud. The products include Cloud Servers, Cloud Monitoring, Private Cloud Software and Critical Application Services to allow customers a choice of private, public or hybrid cloud platforms.
It's Rackspace's commitment to OpenStack as well as its "fanatical" support for partners that play large roles in drawing more than 7,000 partners to the company's cloud service, said Chris Rajiah, Rackspace's vice president of worldwide channels.
Rackspace cloud resellers can expect healthy margins, but systems integrators can use Rackspace's infrastructure to provide their own platform for their own clients, he said. "We give them the foundation of a hosted platform with security, reliability and cost savings," he said.
Rackspace's prices are higher than the industry average, but that's due to the support Rackspace offers, according to Rackspace CIO John Engates. "Not everybody wants to do self-service," Engates said. "Many people want good service and are willing to pay for it."
NEXT: 'This Is Our Business'
GOOGLE: 'THIS IS OUR BUSINESS'
Google has offered solution providers cloud-based products such as Google Apps, which allows partners to sell its business applications, storage, search feature and e-mail service. But it did not provide cloud infrastructure until late June, when it unveiled Compute Engine, which supplies cloud services through its worldwide data centers and infrastructure.
Google's cloud cost structure places it as the second most expensive provider ahead of Microsoft Windows Azure. For a medium-size server workload for one year, Google would charge $5,080, above the CRN/Cloud Spectator study's $3,656 average.
For a monthly rate, Google's cost would be $423, above the $329 average. By the hour, Google would cost 58 cents, above the average of 45 cents.
Shailesh Rao, director of new products and solutions with Google Enterprise, said the Compute Engine service will move it ahead of the top cloud providers, particularly rival Amazon. "They had a head start and they are formidable competition," he told CRN. "But we feel we have better technology. This is our business. Amazon is a retail business."
Google kept the momentum going in late July, rolling out a Cloud Platform Partner Program that offers partners tools, training and resources to provide cloud services through Google's infrastructure. Google partners receive technology resources to configure and manage applications running on Google's Compute Engine cloud infrastructure. Those resources include Google BigQuery to import and analyze data, and Google Cloud Storage for archiving, backup and recovery, and primary storage solutions.
Allen Falcon, CEO of Cumulus Global, a Westborough, Mass.-based cloud services provider that sells Google Apps, said Google's infrastructure play will strengthen his company's portfolio.
"Google Compute Engine is a natural progression for Google Apps for Business and Google Apps Engine," he said. "It will enable organizations to leverage Google's infrastructure for private cloud, hybrid cloud and custom SaaS solutions."
NEXT: Microsoft Sees Windows Azure Momentum
MICROSOFT SEES WINDOWS AZURE MOMENTUM
Similar to HP and IBM, Microsoft is trying to use its massive partner base and technologies to capture cloud business. The company is steadily making its products available on the Windows Azure platform. In early June, it said it was adding virtual machine capability by enabling users to host Linux, SharePoint and SQL server on Windows Azure.
Microsoft in late September updated its Windows Azure cloud services pricing program to let users making a monthly commitment to receive steep discounts regardless of what services they use. However, the discounts apply to large purchases only on a monthly basis, starting at $500 and rising to $40,000 per month.
For medium-size workloads, which do not apply to Azure's discount program, Microsoft comes with the highest prices of those cloud providers surveyed.
For a year-long contract for use of a medium-size workload, Windows Azure would cost $5,679, above the average of $3,656, according to the CRN/Cloud Spectator analysis. For a monthly use of a medium workload, Windows Azure would charge $473, above the average of $329. For hourly use, its cost would be 66 cents, above the average of 45 cents.
Nonetheless, Steven Martin, general manager of Windows Azure Business Planning, said customers report they are enjoying the discounts Microsoft is offering.
"The monthly commitment scale awards customers both big and small," he said. "A commitment of just $500 offers a 20 percent discount, and the larger commitment you make, the more you save. Furthermore, monthly commitment amounts can be increased at any time without increasing the term length."
Martin said customers are coming to Azure at a rapid pace.
"We've seen tremendous momentum on Windows Azure, with tens of thousands of customers, hundreds added daily and over 2X growth in compute in the last six months," he said. "We believe Windows Azure offers the best overall value in the industry with its services, features and simplified pricing."
In March, Azure suffered an outage due to the so-called Leap Year bug, and in response, issued 33 percent credits to Azure customers and overhauled its cloud disaster recovery, testing and customer services.
David Geevaratne, president of New Signature, a Washington, D.C.-based Microsoft partner and provider of cloud services, including Office 365, applauded Microsoft for revising its Azure best practices, especially for improving testing.
"Partners and customers think testing and quality assurance are extremely important parts of any system, and I'm glad Microsoft is devoting more attention to them," he said.
Joseph Giegerich, managing partner of New York-based Microsoft partner Gig Werks, said Microsoft's experience in tuning its applications to business needs is helping it develop cloud apps that can be delivered over Azure.
"With Office 365 and SharePoint, Microsoft has a more mature understanding of the business needs of its customers," said Giegerich. "Office Web Apps [one of Office 365's products] is a remarkable application," Giegerich said. "And SharePoint is a big game-changer."
NEXT: New Kid On The Block
NEW KID ON THE BLOCK
ProfitBricks CEO Robert Rizika believes the company's IaaS cloud offering constitutes a groundbreaking advance in the evolution of cloud computing.
"If you are billing by minutes, you can truly charge people by what they use," Rizika told CRN in September.
For yearly use of a medium workload, ProfitBricks would cost more than Amazon at $2,271, but well below the $3,656 average in CRN/Cloud Spectator's survey.
The company was the lowest-cost provider for both monthly use at $189, below the average of $329, and for hourly use at 26 cents per hour, below the average of 45 cents per hour.
Rizika said the other cloud providers use massively scaled horizontal architecture, which requires customers to pre-select server size with CPU, RAM and storage included and servers added as needed.
But ProfitBricks' hosting infrastructure is built on a vertical scale so that users can select server instances with varying numbers of CPU cores and gigabytes of RAM.
As a result, ProfitBricks' infrastructure has the speed and agility to offer by-the-minute pricing to customers.
Richard Calmas, CEO of Newton, Mass.-based Neighborhood Pay Services, a cloud-based financial program to help clients make monthly rent payments, said ProfitBricks is providing a low-cost cloud solution.
"The price is considerably less than Amazon," Calmas said, "and our operations manager is thrilled with the user interface ProfitBricks provides."
ProfitBricks is a young company without the leverage to influence the cloud hosting market. But with the ability to break up cloud server workloads into component parts and to charge but the minute, it's offering an alluring, low-cost service. "The more flexible the pricing, as in the case of ProfitBricks, the more cost savings for the solution providers," ThinkStrategies' Kaplan said.