ProfitBricks Targets Amazon, Rackspace With Per-Minute Cloud Pricing

Robert Rizika, ProfitBricks CEO, said the Cambridge, Mass.-based company's IaaS offering is a major step in the evolution of cloud computing. "If you are billing by minutes, you can truly charge people by what they use," Rizika said Monday in an interview with CRN.

The company was founded in 2010 by Achim Weiss and Andreas Gauger. They previously started 1&1, a Web hosting company bought by German Internet services company United Internet AG, which has about $3 billion in annual sales. United Internet, Weiss and Gauger are contributing funding to ProfitBricks.

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Rizika says ProfitBricks differs from other IaaS providers in that they use massively-scaled horizontal architecture, which requires customers to pre-select server size with CPU, RAM and storage included, with servers added as needed.

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In contrast, ProfitBricks hosting infrastructure is built on a vertical scale, allowing users to select server instances with varying numbers of CPU cores and gigabytes of RAM. In addition, ProfitBricks' uses Infiniband storage in its virtualized networks, which lets customers easily replicate data.

Also included with ProfitBricks infrastructure is an interface called Data Center Designer, which leverages these technologies to enable live scaling and instant provisioning.

"With our competitors, if you want to scale, you have to stop, add cores, add RAM and restart," Rizika said. "But you don't want to stop your server instances because customers are using your website. We are the first to use live scaling with CPU cores, RAM and storage on the fly. That's big deal for anyone who wants performance."

As a result, ProfitBricks' infrastructure has the speed and agility to offer by-the-minute pricing to customers.

"You can create any data center design you want graphically and with an apps builder," Rizika said. "It happens from a graphical interface. You can change it on the fly. What we have is truly a self-defined network."

Richard Calmas, CEO of Neighborhood Pay Services in Newton, Mass., says his company, an early ProfitBricks cloud hosting user, is benefiting from the services.

Neighborhood Pay Services, which is a cloud-based financial program to help clients make monthly rent payments, is enjoying a low price with easy management of its cloud-based applications.

"The price is considerably less than Amazon, and our operations manager is thrilled with the user interface ProfitBricks provides," Calmas said.