Characteristics of a Cloud services

Posted by admin in FAQ on August 28, 2010 with No Comments

I had an interesting discussion with a partner recently, and we’re debating on the misconception (or lack of understanding hereof)  in the local market (Malaysia) with regards to the public cloud services. A lot of local people claimed that they’re currently providing public cloud services, however when we look at the details of their offering, it’s not!

He goes by saying that even the upcoming SKALI’s own Cloud services falls under that category.

Is it ?!

Let’s review and look at the definition and common characteristics of a Cloud services.

IDC says;

Cloud Services are consumer and business products — services or solutions delivered and consumed in real-time  over the Internet. They have the following key attributes:

  • Shared
  • Self-service
  • Elastic
  • Usage-based pricing

In my own understanding to explain the above points:

  • Cloud services typically runs on shared infrastructure (and often virtualised) in order to leverage the economies of scale that ultimately benefits the consumer of the lower price point (as opposed to dedicated environments). The advancement of virtualisation technology has created this possibility and security concerns in multi-tenanted environment are beginning to be accepted.
  • User able to have their own ‘admin control’ or  ‘control panel’ for a complete self-service to create/modify/delete the services they’ve subscribed. Be it a SaaS, PaaS, or IaaS based. The user has complete control within their account without the need to interact with the service provider (even to grow or shrink their services – just ‘swipe’ it to their credit card). IBM called this zero-touch provisioning.
  • Elastic – terms commonly used these days for cloud services, because it’s like the rubber-band! You can really shrink or stretch the rubber-band far as you can… but even a rubber-band has it’s stretch limit (the breaking point), however a typical cloud services capacity is only limited by the back-end infra that the provider has — that normally able to scale on-the-fly easily. As the demand grows, the building block that build the pyramid expanded — literally at unlimited elasticity.
  • As you grow or shrink of the consumed services, same goes to the amount that you need to pay. Usage-based pricing is what makes the public cloud services extremely attractive to businesses. You can start small (pay a small fee), and when your business expand, grow the services. Then if it doesn’t, shrink it back — you can do it at anytime, and just pay for what you’re using, period. Extremely popular for those seasonal businesses like e-commerce sites (during promotion), news portal sites (occasional mega stories), online tax services (that time of the year that you just hate to do :), etc

So, does the upcoming SKALI Cloud services meet all those characteristics? I proudly say, YES we do!

But don’t believe all I’ve to say, sign-up for our trial account, and judge it by yourselves!

I’ve told the partner the same….

Comments? post below.

SKALI Cloud team.

trial account request to support(at)skalicloud.com

To Cloud or Not to Cloud?

Posted by admin in Featured on August 23, 2010 with No Comments

Recently I was at a Cloud Computing seminar hosted by IDC (the research firm) in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.  One of the interesting slide they shared,  as below:

Uncertainty about Cloud is Dissolving (IDC survey)

The survey clearly indicates that the market are pretty much ready to consider Cloud-based technology as part of their next IT investment in the next 12 months. The question is no longer about “To Cloud or Not to Cloud”, but rather “When can I move into the Cloud” — so that the organisation can enjoy all the benefits (or promised) the Cloud offers.

Based on my personal experience spending time with some of my key clients. The biggest question now is “Where do I begin?”

Talk to us, and we’ll share with you some of our experiences.

SKALI Cloud Team.

Comparison with Traditional Hosting

Posted by admin in FAQ on August 18, 2010 with No Comments

  • What is cloud hosting?
    The term ‘cloud’ is used to describe a number of very different products, but in our case, it refers to on-demand, scalable, virtualized servers accessible over the internet.
  • How do cloud servers differ from dedicated servers?
    When buying a dedicated server, typically you have to pay an initial set-up fee and commit to a contract for a year or more at a higher minimum price point than a cloud server. There is usually a lead time on the hardware, and it is difficult to change the server specification as your needs evolve, forcing you to buy something large enough for your application to grow into. You pay for the server 24 hours a day, not just when you want it up and running.
    Our cloud servers, on the other hand, can be deployed immediately from our easy-to-use web control panel and have no setup charge, a low minimum price point, and no commitment to a contract. As your requirements change, you can instantly scale up and down the resources you use, and can even pay-as-you-go for just the hours your servers are running.
  • How do cloud servers differ from traditional virtual private servers (VPS)?
    Traditional VPS providers slice up large dedicated servers to share them between customers. Typically VPS providers use a container technology such as Virtuozzo to isolate multiple users on a single server from one another whilst running a single shared instance of the operating system. By contrast, our KVM technology enables every user to run their own isolated copy of an operating system of their choice, providing a greater choice of operating systems, higher performance, deeper configurability, and stronger isolation and security guarantees.
  • How does cloud hosting differ from shared hosting?
    Shared hosting solutions usually only give you access to your server through a web control panel, where you can manage a number of websites hosted on that server. With our cloud server, you get full adminstrator control over your server and the ability to install any software you like and configure it exactly how you wish.
  • How does cloud hosting differ from a CDN (content delivery network)?
    A CDN is used to distribute copies of static media content such as images and videos to the edge of the network, nearer to your customers. This enables them to download these files with lower latency and less chance of bandwidth contention. It only works for static media content, and cannot be used for dynamic content or more general compute applications in the same way as cloud servers.
  • What services does SKALIcloud offer?
    We offer a self-managed cloud hosting service. As one of our customers you have full administrator access to your virtual servers and are responsible for the configuration and management of the operating system and applications that you wish to run.
  • Do you offer managed hosting services?
    Our infrastructure is very easy-to-use and you can install and administer it just like physical hardware. Can be easily managed by yourself. However, we do provide a manage cloud hosting services. Talk to us for details.
  • Do you provide control panels such as cPanel, Plesk or PHPMyAdmin?
    We do not have any systems available with preinstalled control panel software, but you can install and run these yourself. For a simple web-based remote system admin, check out Webmin.

Not a true cloud?

Posted by admin in FAQ on August 17, 2010 with No Comments


Recently, I was asked by one of the audience in my presentation.

“I don’t think this is a true cloud service, pay as you go model. Your service looks like in order for me to expand the capacity, I’ve to shutdown the VM and then change the capacity, and bring it up again. There’s a downtime to my service. I’m expecting for us to change the capacity without shutting down the server”…


Yes, it it correct that to expand a single cloud-server you will need to shut down that server, change the capacity and restart it. If high-availability setup is required (can’t afford downtime), you need to start more cloud-servers, and use a load balancer (software load balancer such as HAProxy or Pound. Talk to us if you need a hardware load balancer) to grow or shrink the cluster behind that server. This is a very sensible solution if you genuinely cannot handle a brief downtime during reboot.

In terms of technology, it isn’t possible to grow/shrink a running machine since typical operating systems expect fixed physical hardware and will not handle a change in memory or number of CPU cores while they are running.

In terms of the cloud market, even Amazon EC2 has exactly the same restriction as our stack, for this same technical reason. You can start extra machines, but cannot resize running machines. In fact, it is worse with them as they only support 8 fixed instance sizes rather than the full flexibility to choose CPU/RAM/disk that we offer.

I think the fact that Amazon also has this restriction answers the question that this is indeed a true cloud!

Share with us what’s your thoughts?..

SKALI Cloud team.

Quick Walkthrough of SKALI Cloud service

Posted by admin in Tips on August 17, 2010 with No Comments

Our engineers has prepared a quick, unpolished, and un-narrated walkthrough of SKALI Cloud from his Linux-based workstation based on current beta stage of the platform’s development. A quick glimpse of what you can do inside your cloud account’s once we launch it in a very near future.

The walk-through shall show how you access the Control Panel, create a cloud-server by selecting your preferred OS, adjusting your computing resource of your server and increasing your hard disk space on-demand are only the tip of the iceberg of what you can expect from our cloud service.

Be assured that our cloud platform can be accessed not only from Linux / Unix based workstation, but also from Windows and Mac based computer as long as you have right tools and application to access it (basically you just need a web browser to access the control panel, and a VNC software  to access your cloud servers — which you can disable the VNC later once your cloud servers has been setup). We shall provide more details soon.

Enjoy this sneak preview, and any feedback is welcome.

The Cloud Pyramid – IT as a Service

Posted by admin in Tips & How-to on August 12, 2010 with 3 Comments

Hi again,

Cloud Computing comes in various definition to many people. We have been asked many times as well, and we think one of the best way to understand “what is cloud computing” is to look at the Cloud Pyramid*. It illustrate how the cloud computing services are being stack up. This would also gives you the perspective of where SKALI plays.

skalicloud-pyramid

IT as a Service

In the recent years, we have seen the new advances in processors, virtualisation technology, distributed storage, broadband Internet access, automated management and fast, inexpensive servers have all combined to make cloud computing a compelling paradigm. Cloud computing has change IT to be delivered as a Service (instead of the traditional owning an infra /server /software /development platform)… either on public or private clouds.

It has practically divided IT into 3 areas of service deliveries.

  1. Application - Software as a Service (SaaS) — an example such as Gmail, Salesforce.com, Blogspot
  2. Platform - Platform as a Service (PaaS) — an example such as Windows Azure, Google App Engine, Force.com
  3. Infrastructure - Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) — Amazon EC2, Rackspace Cloud, Terremark

To understand the cloud-model better, let’s see it by stacking it up as a building block of a pyramid — because you can’t build the layer(s) above before having the layer(s) below. For example, you can’t build a cloud-platform ontop of cloud-application. You have to build from the bottom up, and not the other way around. The higher you are on the stack, you tend to forget the importance of what’s underneath (when you use Gmail, do you really care what platform does it built upon and how complex is the server architecture?). The layers are pretty much dependent to each other, but they can somehow exist on its own (pure play PaaS or SaaS provider).

The higher you are on the stack, the more niche it gets (think crm on salesforce, and email on gmail). It requires lesser technical skills and much easier to use. It provide almost immediate benefits to the organisation/individual to use the application to increase the automation or streamline workflows to become more efficient.

On the other hand, the lower you are on the stack, the more control you have (you can control how your servers are being configured to the exact specifications and fault-tolerance you need). You have more freedom and the breadth to do whatever you need to develop your application in whichever way you can (think Windows/SQL Azure or Google AppEngine) or how the servers are load-balanced, with your chosen operating system, interacted over a specific VLAN within the cloud (think GoGrid or AWS). The lower you are, the higher degree of technical skills required. It offers the flexibility as if you run your own physical data center (this IS your virtual data center).

There are myriad of cloud service providers out there. Choose the one suitable to your needs.

We at SKALI, focusing on providing the public cloud-based infrastructure services located in Malaysia (able to serve you closer). Instead of you stuck with the traditional rigid hosting packages for a determined contract period, our cloud-infra able to provide you with the full root control and the elasticity needed to grow or shrink as you required, pay as you grow.

Do you agree with our thoughts here? comments below.

SKALI Cloud team.

Limited trials available – email us at support(at)skalicloud.com

*the Cloud Pyramid was originally coined by the innovative folks from GoGrid.com

Welcome to SKALI Cloud blog!

Posted by admin in News & Promotion on August 8, 2010 with No Comments

Welcome to the SKALI Cloud services blog!

It’s been an exciting few weeks for us and we’re delighted to be able to say ‘hello’ and welcome you to the SKALI Cloud services beta. We are going to deliver our cloud-based infrastructure services soon, especially targeted for the enterprises & startups market in Malaysia and within the region. We aim to provide the most flexible on-demand, elastic, pay as you go cloud servers, at a very competitive pricing as possible. So you no longer need to worry of the underlying computing power and storage — just focus your resources on developing your systems and applications. Start small, grow as you need it, and shrink it when you don’t need it… computing power on-demand!

The trial site is currently in ‘beta’ meaning that whilst it’s in good shape we know that there’s still work to be done. The best way to get the glitches ironed out is to make SKALIcloud available for people to use and see how it goes. The beta trial accounts are very limited and you need to request directly via our support team (support(at)skalicloud.com).

Once you’re on beta trial, please do let us know what you think and let us know if something isn’t quite right or could be improved. That’s what a beta’s for.

We’ll keep you updated with information and developments here on the blog so don’t forget to check back for the latest news.

SKALI Cloud team.

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