Firehost, Linode news shows IaaS life beyond Amazon Web Services

When it comes to discussing large-scale Infrastructure as a Service, the discussion typically begins and ends with Amazon Web Services(s amzn) but the $25 million just raised by Firehost shows that there is interest in other offerings, especially if they can offer differentiated services — in  Firehost’s case, it claims advanced, baked-in security.
The new, Series E round was led by The Stephens Group — which has been involved in the last 4 rounds –and brings total funding in Dallas-based Firehost to $59 million. Customers include the Clinton Foundation, Duke University, Farmers Insurance and the ACLU.

Firehost CEO Jim Levandowski

Firehost CEO Jim Levandowski

The infusion will be used to speed up product development and to boost sales and marketing “at a time when companies desperately need to raise he bar on data protection, compliance and risk management,” new Firehost CEO >Jim Lewandowski, said via email. Levandowski last month succeeded Chris Drake, who is now CTO.
“Simply put, compliance with standards like PCI and HIPAA provide a false sense of protection, as we have seen with many recent security breaches of household name companies. Other IaaS providers consider security an afterthought, or avoid it altogether. If you ask yourself what the cloud provider of the future should look like, it can’t be what you see today,” he noted.
In other IaaS news, developer favorite Linode has dropped $45 million for a  massive upgrade to core infrastructure, installing new SSD drives, doubling RAM, updating to the Intel Ivy Bridge E5-2680v.2 processors and 40Gb networking — all of which will be made available to customers as part of a free upgrade.
According to the blog post announcing the changes:

All new Linodes will be created exclusively on the new Linode Cloud, using the new plan specs and on the new hardware and network.
Likewise, existing Linodes can upgrade free of charge via the “Pending Upgrades” link on your Linode’s Dashboard, however there are some temporary availability delays while we work through getting hundreds of more machines in the pipeline:

This news, along with Amazon’s decision to segregate but keep running its oldie-but-goodie EC2 instances, raises an interesting point about what cloud provides do with aging infrastructure. Do they simply forklift customers to the newer gear — not easy without live migration capabilities — or do they  just keep them churning away ad nauseam on  gear that is less energy-efficient and less secure as time goes by and point all new workloads to the latest stuff? Stay tuned, this will be a topic of discussion at Gigaom’s Structure show in June.

And don’t forget the Structure Show, OpenStack edition

On this week’s cloud podcast hear from Jonathan Bryce and Mark Collier why the latest OpenStack “Icehouse” release is all about (well maybe not ALL about) users.
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