One of the questions we often get at Cloud A is “How does billing by the hour work?”. The answer is simple. We bill by the hour instead of by the month; compared to the more traditional IAAS provider model. In some cases by the hour doesn’t matter since most instances are up and running 24/7, but in the case where environments need to be available for testing, or ad hoc / batch processing purposes, it’s extremely compelling.
One of our beta testers is a company called Maintenance Group Inc.. They are an IBM partner focused on the Asset Management / Equipment Maintenance space working with a software product called Maximo / Tivoli. Before moving to Cloud A they had dedicated environments setup for testing new installations, configuration changes to those environments and doing other intensive tasks like batch processing jobs.
As with traditional VM solutions, snapshots play a big role in how they deliver solutions to their end clients. They use snapshotting a lot to streamline the deployment process and once an environment is setup and working well they then use it as a failsafe mechanism to ensure that they always have a current rollback position. In the past, they needed to pay to have those environments active on the system. Typically were are always left on even when they were not being used. When Maintenance Group Inc. learned that with Cloud A you only pay a tiny fraction of the cost to have a snapshot image stored while not active ($0.25/GB/month), they decided to take advantage of the opportunity to file those old & seldom used environments away and only spin them up when they were needed. The result was a dramatic cost savings of over 265% compared to the previous quarter’s spend on hosted infrastructure. In addition they have found other ways to leverage Cloud A’s on demand compute power to do batch processing of large datasets.
“We’ve been very impressed with what we’ve seen at Cloud A so far. Many of our clients require their data to reside in Canada and that has prevented us from leveraging the large US based providers who have billing by the hour solutions like this to date. This is a great solution for them as well as for our clients in the Caribbean & the US regions. It’s great to have a Canadian solution like this” – Jeff Seaward, Maintenance Group Inc.