Today (Wednesday) there were a flurry of announcements about Microsoft Windows suddenly being available in the Cloud, first by Amazon Web Services and then by 3tera. (Oh, and now since the writing of the first draft of this post, Steve Ballmer just revealed the “Windows Cloud.”) It made me scratch my head a bit. If you are a regular reader of this blog or are familiar with GoGrid in general, you would know by now that GoGrid has been offering Windows Server 2003 (and more recently Windows Server 2008) in the Cloud since the public launch at the beginning of 2008. So why is this suddenly “breaking news” in the industry? Probably because the Goliath in the Cloud industry, Amazon, has thrown its weight behind this.
Being the “David” though has its definite advantages. Having the ability to introduce new and different Operating Systems and features quickly (weeks as opposed to quarters or years) is a clear plus. And being able to offer a “complete” package is another. One thing that Amazon EC2 users are used to is using a command line to control their EC2 server instances. Many of those users are Linux programmers and developers – those who are well versed “in the command line.” Windows users are a very different breed. For them, the GUI is very important. Users want to see icons, click on them, use menus, etc. to “make things happen.”
When we started developing GoGrid over 3 years ago, the user experience was a huge factor in determining the feature set. We settled on using Google’s Web Toolkit (GWT) because it provided the structure to create a rich experience without compromising performance. We won awards (Linux World 2008′s Best of Show) for our implementation. The rich web portal won the hearts of many for its ease of use and the eye candy.
GoGrid users wanted to also control their infrastructure programmatically as well. We responded with a public API for full “control in the cloud.” The GoGrid API is a huge untapped resource for any developer. Add the rich experience of a graphical web interface with the programmatic power of an API; GoGrid provides the full control spectrum for all types of users.
So, before you run off spawning a bunch of EC2 Windows servers (oh wait, you can’t yet), remember that GoGrid has already almost a year of proven experience providing Windows Server 2003/2008 to end users… we are also a Microsoft Gold Certified Partner.
Regardless, it is important for Cloud Users to have a choice. Making the proper one is the challenge however, which means that (as I have mentioned before) one has to look beyond the Cloud itself and also at the ancillary services (SLA, Support, Industry knowledge, etc.) when making the choice.