Amazon’s globe-encircling cloud infrastructure is compelling to many. From Virginia to California, from Ireland to Singapore, and from Japan to Brazil; wherever you find yourself there’s a local instance of the same familiar set of services. And, in all likelihood, Australia will soon be added to the list. For those primarily interested in just serving both Europe and the US, the list of options grows to include Rackspace, GoGrid, CloudSigma and a few others. And yet, despite the buying power and increasing ubiquity of these larger players, there seems to be plenty of space left for smaller entrants. For prospective customers only concerned with a single country or region, for example, the choices are almost too many to count, and choosing between them becomes a complex and multi-faceted affair.
Take Brightbox, for example. As my family know all too well, those pesky timezones mean that many of my evenings are punctuated with calls to or from the States, where so much of the innovation in this sector continues to take root and grow. Either that, or I’m creeping out of a sleeping house to catch early trains for the 150 mile journey south to London. It was therefore refreshing to talk to someone in this industry whose offices are only 50 miles away in the UK city of Leeds.
Established back in 2005 as a Ruby shop capable of hosting apps on dedicated hardware, Brightbox has evolved to place increasing emphasis upon the provision of infrastructure. In 2010, the company began to seriously explore the possibility of offering a generic cloud infrastructure environment. This was in the days before OpenStack, but Eucalyptus existed and was attracting interest. But according to Brightbox co-founder Jeremy Jarvis, 2010′s Eucalyptus lacked some key resilience features (load balancing, multi-data centre capabilities, etc) that the team believed were critical… so they built their own system from the ground up. And, at the end of September last year, Brightbox Cloud entered general availability.
The Brightbox cloud operates out of two UK data centres, with planning underway for a third. Both data centres are now owned and operated by Telecity, which acquired the two independent data centre providers with whom Brightbox had launched. Brightbox owns the racks and (Dell) hardware, and also ensures provision of redundant network access into the data centres. Customers are predominantly drawn from across Europe, but Jarvis says he’s seeing some customers coming from as far away as Australia, New Zealand, and Brazil. The company sees its potential growth through eventual expansion to data centres on the European mainland, but Jarvis says he’s “much less interested in setting up yet another” North American operation. The company is profitable, employs ten staff, and is seeing steady growth in usage. >>Read more