UpCloud bursts out of Finland for European launch, with U.S. in sights for this year

An ambitious Finnish infrastructure-as-a-service company called UpCloud has launched across Europe with local rivals such as CloudSigma and Elastichosts in its sights, and U.S. expansion already on the agenda.

The first two data centers are in London and Helsinki, and more are planned for Chicago towards the middle of the year, then Las Vegas and Singapore. A spin-off of sorts from the established Finnish hosting firm Sigmatic, UpCloud claims to have 100 percent homegrown virtualization tech. According to general manager Antti Vilpponen, this keeps costs low and services flexible:

“Our offering is truly scaleable and flexible – we’re not giving any predetermined set of instances. You can freely choose the amount of CPUs, memory and storage… We’re really fast -– all servers are deployed in less than 60 seconds -– and our network stack is 100 percent redundant.”

Alongside enterprise-grade redundancy, the company offers fully dedicated server resources and one-click migration between availability zones. What’s more, Vilponnen said, unlike with Amazon Web Services,(s amzn) the cheapest service levels UpCloud offers have the same level of performance you’d get with more expensive packages. As the tech was built in-house, UpCloud offers a 100 percent Service Level Agreement (SLA) and 50x downtime compensation — that’s a decent uptime guarantee, which should bolster the enterprise-grade status UpCloud is going for.

There’s a browser-based control panel and apps for Android(s goog) and iOS(s aapl), while those with more complex control needs also have an API (although it’s not fully Amazon compatible) that they can play with. CPU, memory, storage – both HDD and SSD — OS, firewall and IP addresses are all billed on an hourly basis. Network traffics and storage device I/O requests are billed by use.

Right now UpCloud is being personally bankrolled by founder and CTO Joel Pihlajamaa, who is also Sigmatic’s CEO. That makes it pretty impressive to see the company apparently already undercutting local rivals, if not Amazon itself at this point. For example, Vilponnen showed me a chart showing a low-tier UpCloud package of 2GB memory and 100GB storage priced at €41.84 ($54.47) monthly, versus €57.40 on Elastichosts and €72.03 on CloudSigma (it should be noted that CPU amounts were included in the calculation but not explicit in the price, “as they change quite a lot between the providers”).

“We really think offering constantly high-performing resources at affordable prices is key to how want to position ourselves,” Vilponnen said. “We won’t be able to overcome Amazon in Europe within a couple of years, but we’ve got big plans.”

UpCloud is even offering the first 1,000 people that register from Monday morning (and buy €10 of credit) an extra €100 in free credit, so there’s clearly a fair amount of money to back this up — for now. Bootstrapping will only take you so far in the scale-driven cloud business, though, so UpCloud would do well to raise fresh funding this year, as it intends to.