The German alternative from Cologne: gridscale

vom 28.01.2021

11.01.2021 I Author / Editor: Dr. Dietmar Müller / Elke Witmer-Goßner

In our series with alternatives to the »big three« of cloud computing, AWS, Google and Microsoft, we present gridscale, another German provider, today.

gridscale GmbH, a cloud technology provider based in Cologne and an old acquaintance for loyal readers of CloudComputing Insider, sees itself as a direct alternative to the three hyperscalers, just like its US counterparts Vultr, DigitalOcean or Linode. It is managed by Henrik Hasenkamp and Felix Kronlage-Dammers with its approximately 100 employees.

»As an innovator in the cloud computing market, gridscale is an alternative for many«, Maximilian Hille, Senior Analyst & Mobile Practice Lead, Crisp Research, already judged in a report two years ago. In addition to developers, they have explicitly identified German SMEs as the largest target group, which they want to meet on an equal footing with services, reliability, customer proximity and security.

»The often inexperienced German SMEs in particular can benefit from gridscale on their way into the cloud«, says Henrik Hasenkamp, CEO of gridscale GmbH. »Due to the uncomplicated handling of the technology, the cloud migration succeeds in a very short time and is much more user-friendly compared to large providers, so that even a later change would not mean more effort.«

Security through certifications

Security in particular is reported as a major plus point. The current discontinuation of the EU-US Privacy Shield and the ongoing discussions about questionable data protection among global cloud providers are providing a tailwind for the offering, which is hosted in Frankfurt's Tier III data center, among other locations. Another data center location has also recently been added in Switzerland. Both the gridscale technology and the data centers themselves are certified, including ISO 27001, ISO 9001, ISO 50001, ISO 22301, ISO 20001 and ISO 27018, as well as a gridscale trusted cloud designation from the BMWi. Data is secured by Built-in Firewalls, Secure Private Networks, Identity Access Management, 2-factor authentication and Encryption at Rest.

The Cologne-based company cites the »easy-to-understand interface« as the second major plus point for its offering, which allows the infrastructure to be managed even by people without deep IT expertise. A Kubernetes environment facilitates the management of cloud-native workloads.

Product range and technology

In addition to cloud servers, gridscale also offers e-commerce setups, web server clusters and complex setups. Virtualization takes place using bare-metal virtualization (KVM hypervisor), encryption is performed using Encryption at Rest and TSL/SSL. Client separation takes place at the hypervisor, storage and network levels. Distributed SSD storage is available in three storage classes; the hardware used comes from HPE, Super Micro, Samsung, Intel, Juniper and Cisco.

Data can be stored from 1 GB up to 1 PB, and any number of snapshots can be made. The RAM provided per VM ranges from 1 GB to 730 GB, and Foreman Provider, Terraform Provider, Kubernetes, Ruby Fog Gem, Go SDK, Python SDK and Node Lib are available for automation. Platform services include managed relational databases, key value stores, object storage and load balancers. The network runs with IPv4 & IPv6, there is the possibility of multi-carrier connectivity. White label options are available to resellers of the gridscale Cloud Platform, allowing, for example, system houses and data center operators to act as standalone cloud providers to their customers.

»We translate the high complexity of a data center (resulting from location, power supply, cooling, storage systems, computing capacities, network connectivity, etc.) into a user-friendly interface, on the basis of which the user can comfortably and intuitively configure and launch any cloud infrastructure«, says CEO Hasenkamp about gridscale's technology approach. »In our architecture, we not only run distributed and highly secure data storages, but also take care of the extremely complex software operations of databases, load balancers, key-value stores and container virtualization.«

Pricing

In free trial mode, users can get a first impression of the functionalities. Cloud automation, PaaS, object storage and load balancers are available in full. Unlike some »pure« providers, gridscale also offers managed hosting, for which a team works closely with the respective customer or partner.

Prices are billed by the minute and are comparatively transparent. A server with one CPU and 4 GB RAM costs 27.65 euros per month. Pay-per-use charges for both active and inactive components can be called up in real time, and personal consumption charts are available.

Self-learning algorithms improve the offering

»By consistently focusing our technology on data-based decisions and continuously improving our self-learning algorithms, we can now correctly interpret more than nine out of ten events in a cloud infrastructure that is more complex than average«, Hasenkamp said.

»In addition to the higher availability of our services, there are other benefits for us as operators. For example, we were able to set up what is known as dynamic capacity management, which helps us use our resources much more efficiently. CPU nodes are shut down when no load is expected and restarted in good time when a dynamic system load is expected from one or more customers. Software updates are thus installed largely autonomously. Any necessary restart of individual components is planned and executed algorithmically. The ability to transfer the infrastructure used by our customers to other CPU nodes during operation means that such an update is no longer even noticeable to the customer and thus becomes a routine activity.«

The original article in german can be found here.

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