Top 25 European Cloud Computing Rising Stars: CloudSigma

CLOUDSIGMA AG was founded in 2009 in Zurich, Switzerland and introduced its core Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) solution in May 2010 with its cloud being based in the Interxion data centre in Glattbrugg near Zurich. The underlying philosophy of the company is to offer unrestricted choice of operating systems and unlimited size of servers while providing ability for easy transfer of entire drive images. No restrictions are applied on the software running on the servers and customers can select the level of access they have.

Actually, CloudSigma is an IaaS platform allowing customers to customize also the size of CPU, RAM, storage and bandwidth they need. The company boasts a “no-standard server” solution enabling users to specify the exact size of all components of their system. It is advantageous for customers who have specific needs, for example a high CPU usage does not necessarily mean you need a lot of storage space, too. Thus, customers are able to get scalable and personalized solution.

CloudSigma has a non-restrictive policy toward operating systems used in their cloud, hence customers can deploy any operating system and run any software on it. The only applicable limitation is that CloudSystem’s cloud infrastructure requires software to be able to run on standard Intel/AMD architecture.

Virtual servers behaving like real servers is not a new concept, really, but is an advantageous option for those who want to start, restart or stop their servers at any time. Mounting and unmounting drives, adding a static IP or VLAN are also available while the platform allocates more CPU power to the user in case of CPU power not being allocated in full.

Virtual drives keep the customers’ data even when the virtual servers are not running, and servers are automatically restarted if a failure occurs. The platform allows also manual reboot by the user, when needed.
All user control is performed via API or web console and allows users to increase the level of security for their servers and applications. This policy includes a full 256bit AES-XTS cascade encryption of all virtual drives that is protecting user data from being read by third parties even after a drive is deleted. In addition, users are only permitted to see their own network traffic and virtual servers behave like they are physically separated. Secure 128bit connections provide additional layer of security with the system authenticating every action on every account via the API or website console.

CloudSigma enables users to transfer drive images via FTPS, a service that is not offered by all IaaS providers. Some IaaS companies allow customers to download their data locally but downloading whole drive images is an option not allowed by all IaaS platforms and providers.

The platform’s GUI features a multiple server and disk view modes, a group messaging interface, an account actions feed, and current account usage. Additional features include a private messaging system, in-browser multi-purpose widgets and special keyboard shortcuts. The system also supports direct in-browser upload of drive images.

Recently, CloudSigma introduced its Web VNC application in the Chrome Webstore, eliminating the need for a standalone VNC client since its client offers a full VNC session from within the browser. Another project of the company is its partnership with the UK-based Hybrid Logic Ltd., a company developing a Platform as a Service (PaaS) product called Hybrid Web Cluster. In September 2010, the company added Rackspace Cloud API compatibility which was an important step in the development of the fast evolving OpenStack project.

Obviously, CloudSigma is among the most innovative Cloud Computing companies in Europe. Major advantages of its platform are unprecedented transferability, additional security layer (both at software and hardware level), high level of customization, and unrestricted software deployment. You add to the list the company’s environment friendly energy policy.

The IaaS market is developing very rapidly in the past couple of years. CloudSigma demonstrates ability to offer competitive advantages challenging competitors like Amazon and Rackspace. They had a good start and can top the list of largest and most innovative IaaS providers if the company is able to retain its growth rate and innovative approach.

By Kiril Kirilov

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