The Sky’s the Limit

By Micheal Higgins, CloudSigma, Manager of Enterprise Solutions Architecture

As public cloud services continue to evolve, we’re learning the true extent of possibilities for cloud computing. A Forrester survey revealed that a full 36 percent of enterprise IT managers plan to invest in infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) in 2012, which means that cloud-hosted infrastructure is no longer a niche market.

Part of the reason for this is the sheer range of applications for IaaS in practically every industry imaginable. At CloudSigma, we’re exploring the cloud’s potential in markets as diverse as the media industry and research science. We’re finding that by taking full advantage of the public cloud’s storage and compute capabilities, matched with the flexibility and customisation to meet clients’ unique needs, there’s no limit to how we can tailor our customers’ public cloud implementations.

Recently, at the 2012 National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) Show, we officially launched our Media Services Ecosystem, a public cloud environment created exclusively for media industry professionals, to provide them with one roof under which to collaborate. Whether it’s the next blockbuster feature film, or a future Grammy-winning pop hit, media productions can be built faster, cheaper and more efficiently within a cloud environment. By utilising features such as our powerful solid state drive (SSD) storage capabilities and 10GigE networking, industry partners all over the world are building services within our cloud. Media production companies can now store and move large format files at the blink of an eye and at a minimal cost between different service providers, saving countless dollars and hours. That means that even smaller companies can move the sort of workloads necessary to assemble a high-end production.

Our same IaaS model that’s supercharging major media productions with one hand is powering the most sophisticated scientific research under way at Europe’s leading research facilities. As part of the Helix Nebula partnership, CloudSigma is among the providers enabling an immense “Science Cloud” to generate the volume of computing resources that today’s researchers require to, say, chase the elusive Higgs particle… or to examine genomes essential to better understanding evolution and biodiversity… or to create a platform with which to observe natural disasters from space. CloudSigma is such an essential part of this collaborative because of our ability to provide full scalability, on demand resources and unrivalled storage performance for organisations that experience a high degree of variance in data flows.

With a cloud build to handle the most demanding types of computing requirements, we excel at running core enterprise systems and web services also. The redundancy and high throughput needed to enable our HPC customer workflows lets mainstream business uses, from databases to web servers, fly in our cloud.

The potential applications for our cloud are only just beginning to roll out. We’re establishing ourselves as a completely unique, pure-cloud provider on many fronts, including our ability to offer full compliance with national data privacy laws by providing a European cloud free from the domain of the U.S. Patriot Act; our vendor lock-in free model allowing full retrieval of drive images at any time; and our emphasis on security, with private fiber connectivity and virtual servers separated at the hypervisor level. Our unique position is the reason we’ve formed such successful partnerships, including those with Besol, with its Tapp Platform for cloud migrations; Attend, with its MediaCloud media collaboration tool; Strategic Blue, with its cloud brokerage and billing services; and now, with Compare the Cloud, helping them to build out their comprehensive cloud provider comparison services.

We’re looking forward with excitement to where our one-of-a-kind public cloud takes us next. More and more, with IaaS and other cloud services, it seems that the question isn’t what can the cloud do, it’s what can’t the cloud do.

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