Scaleway thinks the future of cloud hosting is ARM-based servers



Iliad’s cloud hosting division Scaleway is launching a new type of server today. In just a minute, you can launch your server with its own dedicated ARMv8 processor, 2GB of RAM, 50GB of SSD storage and unlimited bandwidth. And it only costs around $3.25 per month (€2.99).

If you’re not familiar with processor atchitecture, your computer and your smartphone use two different chipsets. Your laptop uses an x86 CPU manufactured by Intel or AMD, while your smartphone uses an ARM-based system-on-a-chip.

ARM-based devices don’t need a lot of cooling and are quite efficient when it comes to power usage. And they are also becoming increasingly powerful. That’s why it’s a smart bet to use those chips for servers.

In many ways, using Scaleway as your cloud hosting provider feels like using DigitalOcean, Linode or any typical VPS provider. But there’s a big difference as Scaleway provides BareMetal servers (and a few virtual server options as well).

For the past few years, the main trend in cloud computing is that you don’t rent actual physical servers if you don’t have insane needs. Cloud hosting companies run multiple virtual servers on the same physical server, and you can rent those virtual servers.

By splitting up servers into tiny chunks and pooling resources, it has become much more flexible for developers. For instance, you can create a virtual server, install a VPN on it while you travel to China and destroy your server a few days later. You’ll only get billed for the hours of usage, making it much more flexible than signing up for servers with a 30-day commitment.

Similarly, if you face big spikes of new users and traffic, you’ll be able to adjust your server infrastructure in no time. I’ve been using Scaleway for my weekend projects and it works well.

Scaleway wants the best of both worlds — the reliability of physical servers with the flexibility of virtual private servers. So it means that you can create a server in just a few seconds, assign an IP address, load up an image and attach SSD storage to it.

But you’re also the only one using your ARMv8 cores. You won’t get any performance surprise as you don’t share your CPU raw power with your server neighbor — you don’t have a neighbor.

Scaleway’s systems-on-a-chip are provided by Cavium ThunderX. For €2.99 per month, you get 2 ARMv8 cores and 2GB of RAM. You can also choose 4 cores with 4GB of RAM or 8 cores with 8GB of RAM for €5.99 and €11.99 respectively. Scaleway already had ARMv7 servers, so this is a major update of these options.

Scaleway is launching its new ARM-based servers in its French data center first with Amsterdam following course in a few days. I hope the company is also planning to launch new data centers in the U.S. and Asia to make it more compelling for users outside of Europe.



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