Small- to medium-sized businesses (SMB) now have another cloud option – and it’s open source. Evonence has launched a software-as-a-service solution built on Amazon Web Services (AWS) that provides users with popular open source products as pre-configured, pre-deployed ready-to-use-solutions. Just purchase the service, and like sea monkeys, you have instant goodness.

What’s in the Cloud?

Evonence is practicing what it preaches, or buying what it sells, or – oh, never mind. The company chose not to invest in building an infrastructure for its new product, instead opting to leverage Amazon’s platform-as-a-service platform, Amazon Web Services (AWS), for hosting. Using AWS (news,site) for hosting provides Evonence’s business cloud with on-demand scalability, reliability, security and subscription-based pricing.

In addition to an AWS-backed infrastructure, Evonence provides customers with pre-configured open source software for almost every function that SMBs need to support. Tools for functions such as blogging, collaboration, CMS, ECM, CRM, ERP, project management, code repository and e-Learning are available now. The company will also add other open source products if requested by customers. Evonence performs backups, monitoring, product security patches, product version upgrades and support, which enables users to focus exclusively on improving business processes.

Evonence is offering the business cloud for a fixed price monthly subscription, instead of a variable pricing model based on usage, as many similar services do. The pricing strategy allows budget-conscious organizations to avoid large upfront costs and to more easily plan monthly expenditures.

What’s the Big Deal?

Evonence’s business cloud joins a rapidly expanding cloud computing market. A recent study by Gartner (news,site) ranked cloud computing as the top technology priority for CIOs in 2011.

Evonence’s product offers the benefits of other cloud computing solutions, and lowers the technical bar to adopting popular packages such as Drupal, Alfresco and Sugar CRM. It allows bundling multiple open source products on the Amazon AWS platform, where some out-of-the-box solutions would not work without additional effort. The company estimates that its solution reduces overall software development time for building business processes by 20 percent to 30 percent.

Getting Access to the Cloud

The service is available from Evonence and starts at US$ 70 per month with no contract required. The monthly subscription fee includes product installation and support on AWS, 15 GB data storage, 40 GB AWS in-out bandwidth, data backups and instance monitoring. Potential users can take advantage of a 15-day free trial to get a closer look at the service.