Terremark is rolling out a cloud computing service, accelerating a trend in which servers and storage are being provided over the Web.
Terremark has a slightly different take on cloud computing than rival Amazon, which offers separate services for storage and servers, and lets customers buy as many or as few computing resources as they want.
With Terremark, customers purchase a dedicated pool of processing, memory and storage, billed in a lump sum, and can scale up on the fly as needed. The "cloud" is a mix of servers, storage and virtualization software from HP, IBM, Cisco, VMware and 3Par.
"Using a Web-based interface, you can create and deploy virtual servers," says Simon West, chief marketing officer. "You get a pre-allocated set of resources, you're not sharing them with anyone else. ... You are getting billed for that set of resources rather than a minute-by-minute count. Our enterprises signal to us they need a certain stability in the way this is used or billed."
Terremark got its start selling dedicated physical servers, and has data centers in Silicon Valley, Dallas, Miami and the Washington, D.C. region, all of which will be used for the cloud computing offering. Future data center locations include Latin America and Europe. Users can make changes to their servers and storage in minutes instead of weeks, compared with previous Terremark offerings, the company says.
Gartner analyst Lydia Leong says it's a natural step for Terremark to enter the emerging cloud computing market.
"Traditional hosting players are evolving into cloud computing vendors," she says. "It's a very natural evolution for them because they're used to managing lots of hardware."
Customers can choose varying levels of management. Terremark can maintain only the hardware and virtualization layer for those customers who want more control, Leong says. Customers can also choose to have Terremark manage everything except the application code.
Leong expects users to include seasonal businesses, such as tax preparers, and in general enterprises that are willing to place hardware outside their own walls. Corporate mail servers, ERP systems and customer-facing Web sites are ideal candidates for Terremark's service, according to West.
Terremark is trying to differentiate itself by offering extensive visibility into performance and granularity of control through its Web-based Infinicenter interface. "Servers can be configured and provisioned in minutes, grouped and organized according to role, and dynamically extended according to utilization," Terremark states in a press release. "A variety of preconfigured server roles are available across Microsoft Windows, Linux and Sun Solaris operating systems. .. Infinicenter also provides a full reporting interface that allows instant insight into resource utilization and application performance."
Base packages start at several thousand dollars per month and average about US$20,000 a month, according to Terremark.