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CloudSigma goes all SSD in its cloud

In what one analyst calls a harbinger of future advancements by cloud providers, European infrastructure as a service (IaaS) company CloudSigma has announced that its cloud storage will run completely on solid state drives (SSD).

CloudSigma is not the first to offer SSD cloud storage, but it is one of the first to convert its entire platform over to SSD. SSDs are generally higher-performing storage options compared to traditional spinning hard disc drive (HDD) storage arrays.

[ CLOUD PRICES: How low can they go? ]

In the cloud, an all-SSD offering is ideal for high-capacity and performance-intensive computing and storage tasks, says David Hill, an independent analyst at the Mesabi Group who tracks the storage market. Other providers, including Amazon Web Services and Rackspace, offer customers SSDs-based cloud services in some of their offerings, and Hill says he expects most cloud providers in the future to have SSD-backed offerings for most of their products.

At this point though, having an all-SSD cloud is seen as a competitive advantage for companies like CloudSigma, says Hill. CloudSigma says SSDs offer "radically improved performance" over HDDs, including allowing customers to use less CPU and RAM, while speeding storage responsiveness. The company -- which operates in both the U.S. and Europe -- has partnered with storage provider SolidFire to update its entire offering to SSDs.

Hill says one of the most interesting aspects of the news is that CloudSigma is not raising its prices with the new offering. CloudSigma has a somewhat unique pricing model anyway in which customers can customize their virtual machine image size, as opposed to having predefined VM sizes like most cloud providers have. Storage will remain $0.14 per GB per month with the new SSDs, the company says.

A variety of providers already offer SSD-backed clouds. Digital Ocean, Cloud Provider USA and Elastic Host are some of the smaller niche providers offering SSDs, while big-name companies like Rackspace and Amazon Web Services offer some virtual machine instances backed by SSDs. As SSD technology becomes more cost efficient, more providers will adopt it, Hill predicts.

Network World senior writer Brandon Butler covers cloud computing and social collaboration. He can be reached at [email protected] and found on Twitter at @BButlerNWW.

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