Cloud computing is the theme de jour – but one of the most common stumbling blocks to its adoption are the concerns around where data is located. In the US and Europe this isn’t too much of an issue but for those of us living in slightly more *isolated* regions, it’s an ongoing theme.

Just the other day I heard of a Government contract for SMB software specifically stating that only vendors who located their data in New Zealand could tender for the contract. Regardless of the validiy of the concerns – it’s an area that is going to keep cropping up as cloud computing becomes more prevalent.

I was interested then to talk recently with Kristoffer Sheather, Founder of Cloud Central a new company in Australia making efforts to offer a complete cloud environment to serve the needs of local companies and government agencies.

Cloud Central have spent nine months developing an infrastructure to deliver a scalable, secure, and high performing cloud environment specifically for the Australian market. Their primary facility is located in Canberra and is co-located within the TransACT data centre offering the usual security features.

They’re in private beta now and looking to launch a public beta early in January. They’re targeting small business and specifically IT related businesses – graphic designers, web developers, software shops etc. They have an out-of-the-box template which comes prepackaged with:

  • Windows Server 2008 R2 x64
  • CentOS 5.4 x64
  • Ubuntu Server 9.1 x64
  • Debian 5.0.3 x64

At this stage they’re very much an IaaS play only, but in discussions with Sheather it was obvious they’re keen to move further up the stack and maintain a competitive advantage by selling higher value, differentiated services.

At the moment they’re exploring go-to-market strategies and are looking at partnering with PaaS companies to provide users a vertically integrated offering. I’m on the private beta program and their UI is simple and user friendly – at the moment their billing is entirely based on hourly use – but we discussed the potential of a more flexible offering in the future – perhaps a monthly fee with cloud burst services as an added charge. Current pricing depends on memory and storage and is detailed below:

  • Nano – 256MB RAM, 16 GB SAN storage, 1/8 CCU, 1 CPU core, $0.03 per hour
  • Tiny – 512MB RAM, 32 GB SAN storage, 1/4 CCU, 1 CPU core, $0.06 per hour
  • Small – 1GB RAM, 64 GB SAN storage, 1/2 CCU, 1 CPU core, $0.12 per hour
  • Medium – 2GB RAM, 128 GB SAN storage, 1 CCU, 1 CPU core, $0.24 per hour
  • Regular – 4GB RAM, 256 GB SAN storage, 2 CCU, 1 CPU core, $0.48 per hour
  • Large – 8GB RAM, 512 GB SAN storage, 4 CCU, 2 CPU cores, $0.96 per hour
  • Huge – 15.5GB RAM, 1024 GB SAN storage, 8 CCU, 4 CPU cores, $1.92 per hour

Key to Cloud Central’s success will be their ability to continue offering a differentiated service and also creating a “one stop shop” where even later adopting SMBs will be inclined to acquire services from them. The location specificity of the offering itself should be enough for them to garner a reasonable customer base.

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Ben Kepes

Ben Kepes is a technology evangelist, an investor, a commentator and a business adviser. Ben covers the convergence of technology, mobile, ubiquity and agility, all enabled by the Cloud. His areas of interest extend to enterprise software, software integration, financial/accounting software, platforms and infrastructure as well as articulating technology simply for everyday users.

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