Cloud hosting provider ElasticHosts is now offering customers the option of running virtual machine instances on solid state disk (SSD) rather than traditional hard drives.
ElasticHosts, which has datacentres in the UK, US and Canada, said it is making the move to address business concerns over performance when moving enterprise applications to the cloud.
While the firm is not the first to offer SSD storage, ElasticHosts said it is the only cloud provider offering this as an option across the board on any size or configuration of virtual machine instance. That should enable even smaller businesses or those with modest budgets to get the benefit.
"Amazon launched its SSD hosting option a couple of months back, but only on a costly high-end server instance. With us, if you've got a £30 server and you wanted it backed by SSD, you can have it," ElasticHosts chief executive Richard Davies told V3.
Davies said that SSD hosting is not necessary for everyone, but that it can deliver a dramatic performance increase for applications that are heavily disk-bound and call for many non-sequential read and write operations, such as databases.
"We're targeting the SSD option at big database servers and those handling the back-end for key enterprise applications such as SAP," he said.
According to Davies, swapping to SSD will cost customers about a 20 to 30 percent premium over the cost of a standard virtual machine instance, but will deliver "an enormous performance increase for the right applications."
For new instances, customers can simply specify SSD when configuring the specification they want at the provisioning dialog box.
Users with existing virtual server instances can swap these to SSD, but this will call for some downtime unless they get the ElasticHosts support team to perform the operation for them.
The SSD option is available from today in ElasticHosts' UK datacentre, and will be rolled out across all the others in the coming weeks.
Davies said that ElasticHosts was looking at delivering a further option to customers that would see SSDs used to cache rotating disks, providing an intermediate solution between the two alternatives, but that this had not progressed beyond lab testing at present.
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