Archive for 2008

 

Commentary on Computerworld’s “Stormy Weather: 7 Gotchas in Cloud Computing”

Tuesday, November 4th, 2008 by

computerworld_logo Today I read Mary Brandel’s article in Computerworld titled “Stormy Weather: 7 Gotchas in Cloud Computing” which discusses some of the possible issues related to turning to the Cloud for your application or site hosting needs. First, I agree (and actually like) the reference to “Cloud Computing” being like a pop song getting stuck in your head…it is a frequently (over)used buzzword swirling around the media and blogosphere. The article goes on to discuss about some hurdles or pitfalls surrounding this evolving technology. (I almost added “trend” to that previous sentence but then reminded myself, this is not a trend but rather a solid alternative to traditional IT technology.)

To briefly recap the 7 Gotchas that Brandel discusses:

  1. Costs, Part I: Cloud Infrastructure Providers
  2. Costs, Part II: Cloud Storage Providers
  3. Sudden Code Changes
  4. Service Disruptions
  5. Vendor Expertise
  6. Global Concerns
  7. Non-Native Applications

So let’s quickly dive into each of these items from a Cloud Computing Vendor’s perspective, that of GoGrid.

Costs, Part I: Cloud Infrastructure Providers

At the end of this discussion of high CapEx via purchasing hardware infrastructures versus “pay by the drink” method of Cloud Computing, a hybrid approach was discussed. Putting all of your IT infrastructure physically in a datacenter that you manage, OR, hosting everything entirely “in the cloud” might not be the best option on their own exclusively. It does make sense from a cost perspective to put everything in the Cloud but there is a possibility (depending on the cloud provider) that the throughput of high I/O servers might not meet your needs. Thus, a hybrid infrastructure might be a more logical solution (put your high-performance DB servers in a dedicated, managed environment and your elastic or dynamic resources, such as web or app servers, in the Cloud). For example, take a look at GoGrid’s offering called “Cloud Connect” which give the ability to link dedicated environments with the Cloud.

(more…) «Commentary on Computerworld’s “Stormy Weather: 7 Gotchas in Cloud Computing”»

Beta Testers Needed: “Cloud Connect” – Dedicated Servers & the Cloud

Monday, November 3rd, 2008 by

Have you been looking for the best of both worlds? I’m talking specifically to Hosting. There are some things that simply run better within a dedicated server environment and others that are much more optimized for running in the Cloud. When you have a background in Hosting (colocation, managed and the cloud), you have the ability to offer products that none of the other Cloud or Dedicated providers can provide. That is, the ability to connect across infrastructures: Dedicated Managed Servers (ServePath) and Cloud Infrastructure (GoGrid).

Shortly, we will be releasing a new service called “Cloud Connect” which essentially combines the elasticity of Cloud Computing with the customization of dedicated servers in one unified solution. Cloud Connect utilizes a secure megabit private network to connect your Cloud Web and Application servers (your front end environment) with customized dedicated database servers (back end environment).

cloud_connect

Some benefits and uses on using a Hybrid Infrastructure using “Cloud Connect”:

  • Cloud Servers give you the flexibility to quickly scale web and application servers to meet swings in demand
  • Use a Secure VPN to administer your database servers
  • Quickly deploy Web or Application Clouds to handle spikes in Internet traffic
  • Dedicated Database servers ensure that you have the I/O (Input/Output) throughput needed to run a high performance database
  • Cloud Storage allows you to have an infinitely scalable storage service for backing up critical data from your Cloud environment

Sounds exciting, doesn’t it? Well it is! This is something that no other hosting provider is currently offering that we know of. Of course, you can try your own solution using different providers, but that just adds time and complexity to your infrastructure build-out.

(more…) «Beta Testers Needed: “Cloud Connect” – Dedicated Servers & the Cloud»

Microsoft Launches Azure Cloud Services Platform – My Quick Takes on This

Monday, October 27th, 2008 by

Updated: 12:30 PM 10.27.08

azure_logo At the Microsoft Professional Developers Conference 2008 (PDC), Microsoft unveiled their entrance into Cloud Computing with the launch of the Azure Services Platform. Billed as "an internet-scale cloud services platform hosted in Microsoft data centers," Azure is designed to provide an "operating system" and a set of developer services that will enable a broadening of the Microsoft platform from on-premise to the Cloud.

Azure is designed to allow Microsoft developers "to quickly and easily create applications running in the cloud using their existing skills with Microsoft Visual Studio development environments and the .NET Framework." More information on the Azure Services Platform can be seen here.

Obviously with the information just being released hours ago, there is plenty of speculation around the features and functionality of this new Cloud. So I thought that I would quickly put down my thoughts as to how this plays in the current Cloud offerings as they exist. First, let’s take a look at the Cloud Pyramid:

image

Some quick notes:

  • From the naming (Cloud Service Platform), Azure is clearly positioned as a "Platform" play here.
  • This is the Ray Ozzie’s "Red Dog" project…probably why some of the presenters were wearing red shoes (?)
  • Cloud Platforms, traditionally, offer development environments, using technologies that are somewhat restrictive or proprietary
  • Azure introduces certain Services (e.g., .NET and SQL Services) as a means to Extend the functionality of the platform (e.g., Cloud Extender)
  • Most similar to the Azure Cloud would be Google’s App Engine (where Python and possibly soon other languages are required for usage)
  • With Azure, you do not get access to the root Operating System, as you would with an Infrastructure offering, which means you will be restricted to only what Microsoft enables within the Platform
  • Azure pricing is not immediately available, however: (more…) «Microsoft Launches Azure Cloud Services Platform – My Quick Takes on This»

GoGrid Launches new PHP-enabled Windows 2008 Cloud Servers

Monday, October 27th, 2008 by

win2k8_robot_php_gogrid_sm GoGrid recently released 4 new Windows Server 2008 images unique to Cloud Computing that brings a new level of features for PHP and ASP.NET developers. In the past, there was heavy segmentation between developers who used .NET for development and those who used PHP. Traditionally, .NET developers used the Windows platform while PHP developers remained fairly closely tied to Linux distributions. Windows Server 2008 marks a new generation of platform for both types of developers in that now with 1 server platform both PHP and ASP.NET applications can be run simultaneously on the same machine under the same OS. This means that companies and corporations can realize new cost savings and IT efficiencies by now allowing development on a single Windows Server 2008 platform.

GoGrid has released 4 new 32-bit Windows Server 2008 GoGrid Cloud Servers with the following configurations (with more on the way soon):

  • Windows Server 2008 – IIS 7.0, Microsoft SQL Server 2005 Express, PHP5 (WISP stack)
  • Windows Server 2008 – IIS 7.0, ASP.NET, Microsoft SQL Server 2005 Express, PHP5 (WISP+.NET stack)
  • Windows Server 2008 – IIS 7.0, mySQL 5, PHP5 (WIMP stack)
  • Windows Server 2008 – Apache, Microsoft SQL Server 2005 Express, PHP5 (WASP stack)

The two WISP stacks were fully vetted and optimized with the help of senior engineers within Microsoft, employing best practices for not only base-lining these WISP images, but also with IIS optimization and security.

As mentioned within the recent press release, “default PHP installations run extremely well on Windows Server 2008 without any need for additional fine-tuning and Windows is a solid infrastructure solution for PHP development and deployment. The combination of PHP, ASP.NET and the .NET framework is a robust offering for any type of developer utilizing Microsoft and Open Source technologies.”

GoGrid released these new images specifically for the Microsoft Professional Developer’s Conference 2008 (PDC) where GoGrid is exhibiting at booth #914. The PDC is Microsoft’s premier gathering of leading-edge developers and architects and is the event to learn about the future of the Microsoft platform, exchange ideas with fellow professionals and hear about upcoming Microsoft Server related products. Developers who utilize Microsoft technologies are encouraged to visit the GoGrid booth where they can receive a free trial of GoGrid Cloud Servers.

(more…) «GoGrid Launches new PHP-enabled Windows 2008 Cloud Servers»

Analysis of Recent Cloud Announcements (Rackspace & Amazon)

Thursday, October 23rd, 2008 by

There have been a flurry of announcements in the Cloud Computing space in the past two days, most notably coming from Rackspace and Amazon. I have been trying to digest these quickly and wanted to post a recap and my analysis of this news. It’s pretty obvious to those of us within the Cloud Computing space that this is not a trend, but actually a logic progression of technology and services. The benefits of the Cloud are clear: pay for what you use, use only what you need, internet infrastructure provisioned using a web browser or API. But once again as the space becomes cluttered with new providers or features, the confusion starts bubbling up.

Rackspace Announcements

mosso_rackspace_logos So let’s take a look at what Rackspace announced on Oct 22nd. Billed as expansion of their “Cloud Hosting Portfolio”, Rackspace’s Cloud announcement provides some insight into their vision and roadmap. I listened to their “Cloud Event” which seemed to get a lot of hype, however, nothing truly jumped out at me as being earth shattering. A phrase comes to mind after all of the dust settled from the event “innovation through acquisition.” Don’t get me wrong, Rackspace’s achievements within the hosting business are definitely impressive and the company did manage to pull off one of the only IPO’s of 2008 within the Technology Sector. But this event seemed to be more of a requirement stemming from stockholders and their Board to “show something noteworthy.” They did do a great job at getting everyone’s attention though.

From the Cloud Event, I wrote down some points that they mentioned:

  • They broke down the Cloud into only 2 segments: Cloud Hosting & Cloud Applications
  • Their Cloud Hosting Division now consists of 3 products: Cloud Sites, Cloud Files & Cloud Servers
    • Cloud Sites – this is the current Mosso offering, rebranded. I view this to fall under the Cloud Platform part of my Cloud Pyramid. You are free to do what you want within it, but with some limitations (predefined application frameworks, no SSH or RDC access currently, no API access, month-to-month billing). This is a good option for people who want slightly more than what Google App Engine offers Python users for free.
    • Cloud Files – one can view this as a CDN meets an online storage solution (e.g., an Enterprise DropBox). For this solution, Rackspace acquired JungleDisk (which interestingly uses Amazon’s S3 service for their cloud storage solution – this is expected to change to CloudFS, Rackspace’s own product, at a later date). I think of this offering as falling within the Cloud Extender’s portion of the Cloud Pyramid, detailed within this presentation.
    • Cloud Servers – with the acquisition of Slicehost, an innovator within the Xen virtualization, low-cost VPS hosting arena, Rackspace adds to their product line “cloud servers.” Similar features here compared to EC2 and GoGrid with some feature omissions and I view this to be Rackspace’s Cloud Infrastructure entrance.

    (more…) «Analysis of Recent Cloud Announcements (Rackspace & Amazon)»