Leading UK-based hosting service provider XCalibre has just released a limited Beta program for FlexiScale, a new outsourced infrastructure service that many industry watchers expect to compete directly with Amazon’s EC2. According to XCalibre CEO Tony Lucas, “FlexiScale offers you all the computing power you need in an instant.”
So how does FlexiScale compare against Amazon EC2? On the face of it both are open utility platforms that allow 3rd party integration, but FlexiScale goes further to offer full configuration management as a service.
Here are some features it offers that are not part of the Amazon EC2 landscape - support for MS Windows, static IP address, SLAs, multi-level monitoring, load balancing, load monitoring and automated elastic resource management.
And there's more. While EC2 requires use of the Amazon Machine Image (AMI), FlexiScale offers the ability to import any virtual server image. Additionally it offers snapshot-based OS and data back-ups that allow point-in-time rollback of servers whereas EC2 does not provide its users with access to back-up infrastructure stores or restores.
Tony Lucas says, "We have built FlexiScale as an open utility platform that allows independent parties to add their own management stacks at low levels and lets them provision their software products on-demand as SaaS. Our fully managed stack will still be on top for those customers who prefer that service. We're happy to see this utility used by hundreds of partners and we aim to encourage professionals to build a community around our core product, creating value-add services and helping us to push the limits, challenge our thinking."
He adds, "A core part of our strategy will be to endorse any upcoming standards and we'll actively participate in creating them where none exist.”
The FlexiScale price plan is based on proven pay-as-you-go Telecoms style pricing where a customer commits to an agreed base level of service that is charged at a fixed cost, but which can be changed up or down by the customer at any given time. On top of that the platform allows bursting to much higher levels and these bursts are charged as they occur purely for their duration. Interested parties can work out the price of an instance by using the FlexiScale online price calculator.
FlexiScale is currently in Beta and XCalibre does not charge customers for its usage. It is their intention to start charging customers as soon as they deem the platform fully stable and functional according to their v1 specification. The formal product launch is planned for early July time-frame.