Joyent Cloud takes on kingpin Amazon

Joyent CloudJoyent is pitching its Joyent Cloud as a faster, cheaper platform that will give customers more insight into their cloud-based operations than the incumbent leader Amazon.

The new-and-improved Joyent Cloud, announced Thursday, builds atop the company’s rethought SmartDataCenter 6 management technology and adds more business analytics to help corporate customers get a better handle on what’s actually going on in their cloud-based infrastructure. One criticism of Amazon (s amzn) is that its cloud services are something of a black box; the company doesn’t make it easy for customers to see what’s happening in its cloud. Many rely on third parties like RightScale for dashboard views into the inner workings of their EC2 operations.

Smaller cloud players like Joyent can compete well on those types of value-added services but have a long way to go to equal Amazon when it comes to sheer scale, said Carl Brooks, infrastructure analyst with Tier 1 Research, a division of The 451 Group.

Joyent claims its SmartOS SmartMachines technology can cram more computing onto less hardware and deliver 14 times faster speeds than a similar Amazon EC2 instance. Joyent compares the new utility pricing of its offering to Amazon EC2 here.

The company also announced the new Node.js Joyent SmartMachine for those who want to build and deploy commercial Node.js-based applications. Node.js is a Joyent-backed server-based JavaScript environment that has become the darling of the tech web set.

In August, Joyent open-sourced its SmartOS cloud operating system that underlies SmartDataCenter and it already offered an open-source licence for its Node.js language effort.

Joyent Cloud claims some big customers, including business-focused social networking site LinkedIn. (s lnkd)

Image courtesy of Flickr user Iwan Gabovitch.