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Posts Tagged ‘amazon’

 

Cloudcenters are Datacenters in the Sky

Thursday, January 8th, 2009 by

Amazon’s Web Services (AWS) is not the only way to build scalable Cloud Infrastructures.  There are two emerging methodologies for constructing Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) AKA “Cloud Infrastructure Services”.  The first is what we call “cloudcenters”, which are essentially datacenters in the sky.  The second is what we call an “Infrastructure Web Service”.  GoGrid was one of the pioneers for cloudcenters, while AWS largely created the second model.

New_Cloud_PyramidUnderstanding IaaS means looking closely at these two approaches.  Clearly the notion of cloudcenters embodied by AWS competitors such as ourselves, FlexiScale, ElasticHosts, AppNexus, and others is important.  My colleague, Michael Sheehan, will go into more depth on how we think this distinction modifies his earlier Cloud Pyramid (right) in a follow-on blog posting to this one.

Infrastructure Cloud Models

Understanding these two approaches is important because it directly affects your selection of a Cloud Infrastructure provider.  These two models highlight a difference in core infrastructure and in target markets. Cloudcenters provide a direct equivalent to traditional datacenters and hence are usually more desirable for IT staff, systems operators, and other datacenter savvy folks.  Infrastructure Web Services on the other hand are more analogous to Service-Oriented-Architectures (SOA), require significant programming skills, and are much more comfortable for software developers.

Infrastructure Web Services

I’m going to assume for this article that you are somewhat familiar with Amazon Web Services (AWS), but I’ll briefly re-cap.  AWS provides a number of different ‘Web Services’ that can be consumed individually or put together to support different kinds of applications, usually a batch processing or web application of some kind.  These services include: (more…) «Cloudcenters are Datacenters in the Sky»

Ten Cloud Computing Predictions for 2009

Tuesday, December 2nd, 2008 by

crystal-ball_cloudy After about a year of Cloud Computing under my belt, analyzing trends in the market, talking with various professionals as well as customers in the space and watching our own Cloud Computing product, GoGrid, take off as a Cloud Computing leader and innovator, I feel that it is time to make some 2009 predictions for Cloud Computing. Who would have guessed that 2008 would have been “The Year of the Cloud“? I think that 2009 will be “The Year of the CLOUDS” (emphasis on multiple).

A Quick Look Back

If you look back to January 2008, the players in Cloud Computing were few are far between. Obviously, Amazon was breaking ground in establishing themselves as the front-runner at that time. But the term was too new and largely undefined. One of my first blog posts discussed some trends of grid computing, virtualization & virtualized hosting, cloud computing and “green hosting.” For the most part, many of those concepts have not changed. Rather, they have evolved, grown and become more established as leading technologies for the future. As of the writing of that article, GoGrid was still in Private Beta, but with well over 2 years of development getting it ready for prime time.

Virtualization was definitely the buzzword of the beginning of 2008, mainly because it was something that people could fairly easily understand. There were several desktop virtualization products available for users to host different OS’s within their own OS. As Jeff Kaplan predicted, On-Demand services started to really take off for several reasons that are applicable even today (if not more so). His number 1 reason: “Services are Recession Proof” (more about that later in my predictions). While Jeff’s ideas were largely focused on SaaS, there is a lot to be said when you apply them to Cloud Computing in general.

Close to when GoGrid was launched at the end of March 2008, coincidentally(?) the search term “Cloud Computing” (according to Google Insight) really started a strong upward trend within World Wide Searches:

Google_insight_Cloud_computing_2007-8

(more…) «Ten Cloud Computing Predictions for 2009»

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)»

Windows in the Cloud? Been there, done that!

Wednesday, October 1st, 2008 by

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.

Comparison: GoGrid Cloud versus Amazon EC2

Tuesday, June 17th, 2008 by

Note
: The matrix below will be updated shortly in a new post to reflect changes in both EC2 and GoGrid features. (11.11.08)

As GoGrid continues its record breaking sign-ups, we get asked repeatedly how we compare against Amazon’s EC2. While not exactly an apples to apples comparison, there are enough similarities to warrant a few matrices to illustrate the differences.

Feature Comparison Matrix

Feature

GoGrid

(more…) «Comparison: GoGrid Cloud versus Amazon EC2»