Global hosted services provider The Planet is now offering solution providers the ability to sell cloud-based virtual server architectures to smaller customers looking for extra processing power without the need to invest in more servers than they really need.
The Planet Server Cloud provides a combination of Intel Nehalem-based Dell servers, Oracle-Sun storage, and Cisco and Juniper networking, with virtualization provided by the Canonical Ubuntu Server's KVM hypervisor.
The result is a cloud-based, virtual server offering which helps smaller business and Web-based businesses gain access to consistent high-performance and dedicated virtual resources, said Carl Meadows, senior product manager for cloud services at The Planet.
The Planet Server Cloud was also designed to be reseller-friendly, Meadows said. "A significant chunk of our revenue comes from resellers selling our hosted services to customers," he said. "A lot of traditional cloud providers just are not really reseller-friendly or Web business-friendly."
Traditional hosted services are packaged more for customers running applications on a 24-by-7 basis, which is good for on-line transaction processing or test-development uses, Meadows said. "Those customers are not charging for hundreds of servers on a daily basis," he said. "They prefer monthly pricing."
Furthermore, with most cloud-based platforms, bandwidth costs are priced separately from the processing. and typically cost much more on a monthly basis than the hosted server, Meadows said.
The Planet Server Cloud charges a single monthly fee for its hosted virtual servers on a per-virtual CPU basis which includes 1 TB of storage per server as well as the bandwidth. The virtual server is based on a "slice" of an Intel Nehalem 5520 processor in the company's Dell servers.
The storage sits on a SAN based on the Oracle-Sun 7400 "Amber Road" series storage array. Meadows said the Amber Road features a combination of the open-source ZFS file system and an excellent price-performance ratio, making it suitable for use in virtual environments.
"It also features SSD for high-speed data reads," he said. "Most Web applications are read-heavy. For customers with write-heavy applications, we suggest they use dedicated servers."
Lewis Schrock, channel marketing manager for The Planet, said solution providers can work with the company in one of two ways.
They can buy The Planet's services and then resell them to customers while maintaining the customer relationship. They also have the option of acting as a referral partner where they turn the customer control over to The Planet in exchange for a referral fee, Schrock said.