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ICONZ tweaks storage to attack collocation market

08 Jun 2011

ICONZ has introduced a new, lower cost option in its Versa range to bring the flexibility of the platform to those customers which don't require the high speeds of the more expensive fibre channel platform.

The original Versa cloud platform, released in 2008, was customisable at the processor, RAM and hard drive size-level, but all options used fibre channel for the drives. So while access speeds were quick, the price was out of reach for smaller Kiwi businesses.

Last month ICONZ renamed its existing fibre channel platform to Versa FC (for 'fibre channel') and introduced the new Versa S2 (for SAS or SATA). We recognised the market was asking for a lower entry point to cloud computing and including the firewall and backup in a package made cloud simpler and would remove barriers to entry," said ICONZ CEO Sean McDonald.

According to McDonald, the new offering is for customers who require the flexibility and strength of Versa, but don't need the speed that the fibre channel drives offered. Using ICONZ's provided Versa Fcand Versa S2 calculators, our estimates showed customers choosing to sacrifice the speed of the fibre channel could save over 50 percent by choosing the lower cost solution.*

Since launch, ICONZ said the Versa platform has attracted over 800 customers including BECA, Terabyte and RedVespa. Interestingly, McDonald said that the majority of these customers were hosting business applications rather than websites.

While the Versa FC solution has garnered some impressive enterprise customers, it seems Versa S2 is targeted towards medium-sized organisations. ICONZ is specifically targeting the thousands of small and medium businesses throughout New Zealand that currently host servers internally, or collocate servers with competitors. (Update: The company is also targeting any company that runs services out of multiple countries as the geographical availability enables ICONZ to put clients' clouds closer to their markets).

The MetService has been an early adopter of Versa S2, now replicating its weather data from its own Wellington servers to ICONZ's Sydney datacentre using the new solution.

Terminology Explained

SATA – a cost effective hard drive option and the most commonly used in servers and datacentres today. The trade-off for cost effectiveness is a maximum transfer speed of 150, 300 or 600 megabytes per second.

SAS – an updated incarnation of the SCSI drives from the 1980s. It offers faster performance than most SATA drives, although on the higher end, both are on par for speed. SAS can achieve up to 600 megabytes per second transfer speeds.

Fibre Channel - enables hard drives to connect via optical cables to a server. The maximum theoretical throughput is 2,000 megabytes per second. These drives are costly and are generally only used in extremely high performance datacentre environments.

*Based upon similarly configured single processor machines with 4GB of RAM a 200GB hard drive and 10GB of international data.

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