Sacramento-based colocation provider RagingWire has launched a subsidiary, StrataScale, whose first product is a managed cloud hosting service, IronScale. (I’ve mentioned this before, but the launch is now official.) I’ll be posting more on it once I’ve had time to check out a demo, but here’s a quick take:
What’s interesting is that IronScale is not a virtualized service. The current offering is on dedicated hardware — similar to the approach taken by SoftLayer, but this is a managed service. But it has the key cloud trait of elasticity — the ability to scale up and down at will, without commitments.
IronScale has automated fast provisioning (IronScale claims 3 minutes for the whole environment), management through the OS layer (including services like patch management), an integrated environment that includes the usual network suspects (firewall, load balancing, SSL acceleration), and a 100% uptime SLA. You can buy service on a month-to-month basis or an annual contract. This is a virtual data center offering; there’s a Web portal for provisioning plus a Web services API, along with some useful tricks like cloning and snapshots.
It’s worth noting that cloud infrastructure services, in their present incarnation, are basically just an expansion of the hosting market — moving the bar considerably in terms of expected infrastructure flexibility. This is real-time infrastructure, virtualized or not. It’s essentially a challenge to other companies who offer basic managed services — Rackspace, ThePlanet, and so on — but you can also expect it to compete with the VDC hosting offerings that target the mid-sized to enteprise organizations.