Diggin' technology every day

December 18, 2012

New Cloud provider Profitbricks

Filed under: Datacenter — Tags: , — Nate @ 9:02 am

(originally I had this on the post above this but I thought it better to split it out since it morphed into something that suited a dedicated post)

Also on the topic of cloud, I came across this other post on Data Center Knowledge’s site a few days ago talking about a new cloud provider called ProfitBricks.

I dug into their web site a bit and they really seem to have some interesting technology. They are based out of Europe, but also have a U.S. data center somewhere too. They claim more than 1,000 customers, and well over 100 engineers working on the software.

While Profitbricks does not offer pooling of resources they do have several key architectural advantages that other cloud offerings that I’ve come across lack:

They really did a good job at least on paper, I haven’t used this service, though I did play around with their data center designer

ProfitBricks Data Center designer

Their load balancing offering appears to be quite weak (weaker than Amazon’s own offering), but you can deploy a software load balancer like Riverbed Stingray (formerly Zeus). I emailed them about this and they are looking into Stingray, perhaps they can get a partnership going and have it be an offering with their service. Amazon has recently improved their load balancing partnerships and you can now run at least Citrix Netscaler as well as A10 Networks’ SoftAX in EC2, in addition to Riverbed Stingray. Amazon’s own Elastic Load Balancer is worse than useless in my experience. I’d rather rely on an external DNS-based load balancing from the likes of Dynect than use ELB. Even with Stingray it can take several seconds (up to about 30) for the system to fail over with Elastic IPs, vs normally sub second fail over when your operating your own infrastructure.

Anyway back to Proifitbricks, I was playing around with their designer tool and I was not sure how best to connect servers that would be running load balancers(assuming they don’t provide the ability to do IP-takeover). I thought maybe have one LB in each zone, and advertise both data center IP addresses (this is a best practice in any case at least for larger providers). Though in the above I simplified it a bit to a single internet access point and using one of ProfitBricks round robin load balancers to distribute layer 4 traffic to the servers behind it(running Stingray). Some real testing would of course have to go into play and further discussions before I’d run production stuff on it obviously (and I have no need for IaaS cloud right now anyway).

So they have all this, and still their pricing is very competitive. They also claim very high level of support as well which is good to see.

I’ll certainly keep them in mind in the event I need IaaS in the future, they seem to know the failings of first generation cloud companies and are doing good things to address them. Now if they could only address the point of lack of resource pooling I’d be really happy!

1 Comment

  1. Hi Nate, thanks for the write-up! Fyi: our first US datacenter is located in the SwitchNAP campus in Las Vegas, which places us in a world class facility with the likes of Disney, EBay, EMC and others as our neighbors.

    Comment by John F — December 28, 2012 @ 2:37 pm

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