London-based cloud server provider ElasticHosts has launched an Infrastructure-as-a-Service offering that provides scalable Linux hosting that is billed on consumption, rather than capacity, helping customers save money while servers run at lower capacities.
This service, known as Elastic Containers, is a reworking of the cloud pricing model which is typically structured around reserving blocks of available capacity, represented as virtual machine instances with parameters such as memory, CPU cores, and bandwidth. Although, in practice, it incorporates a combination of reserved and on-demand capacity that can help users optimize their costs.
ElasticHosts essentially lets users create Elastic Containers with their expected use of CPU, RAM, SSD storage, and bandwidth, and add firewalls and static IPs. This is the base subscription rate. If the Elastic Container goes over this expected usage, this additional consumption is charged at two times the subscription rate.
To make sure containers don’t scale beyond the limit of a company’s budget, Elastic Containers also lets users specify the maximum levels to which CPU, RAM, storage, and bandwidth can expand so they know their exact price limit.
CEO and Co-Founder of ElasticHosts Richard Davies said in a statement, “We’ve analysed hundreds of servers from some of our largest customers and noticed two major differences. Firstly, a server running a typical workload will see 50 percent cost saving versus other major IaaS clouds, since typically less than 50 percent of total capacity is used through a full weekly cycle. Secondly, a server which frequently runs below its peak capacity, either due to idle periods or because it only occasionally needs to handle a large load, can save 75 percent or more.”
Behind the scenes, resources are made available for immediate auto-scaling to expand and contract as customer needs grow and without users needing to manually provision resources. ElasticHosts provides this service at no charge.
The emergence of Elastic Containers coincides with a period in which many cloud hosting services, including Amazon Web Services, Rackspace, Google Compute Engine, and Microsoft Windows Azure, are making price reductions. But a lot of these services are also adding cost tracking and analysis tools, such as Amazon’s Cost Explorer, to make IT costs more predictable.
It can still be difficult for businesses to predict their usage levels and understand how they can reduce their costs through Elastic Container pricing, but it does provide some compelling options that could make IaaS easier for businesses to implement.