On their blog today, Rackspace's cloud division, Mosso, shows off a study they did where they compared the costs and performance of Amazon Web Service's S3 storage service and CloudFront Content Delivery Network (CDN) against Mosso's combination of CloudFiles and their partnership with CDN provider, Limelight Networks. The blog post presents five common use cases, and compares the cost of CloudFiles/Limelight with the Amazon offerings, both with and without Amazon's support option.
I spent some time on the phone yesterday with Mosso co-founder, Jonathan Bryce, and Senior Cloud Architect for Rackspace's cloud division, Erik Carlin, discussing what they found. The short-short version is that, for the five use cases they analyzed, they claim (not surprisingly) that Mosso beats Amazon's offerings in simplicity, cost and performance, especially when support is taken into account.… Read more
This freeware browser has two components--the browser, and a menu bar that strongly resembles Apple's dock. The browser, while not perfect, performed well. We could have done without the menu bar.
As soon as Aw2 Explorer Flex was installed, our computer's performance slowed down considerably. The menu bar appeared at the top of our desktop window, and contained shortcuts to IE, Control Panel, and our Recycle Bin. The programs were slow to launch using the menu bar, and we couldn't empty our Recycle Bin using the bar. The browser itself was slow to load, but as soon … Read more
The original title of this post was going to be "Why isn't Google App Engine successful?" You see, I've been frustrated of late at the lack of followup press about the PaaS offering since Google's announcement about it last April. I was beginning to think that no one but a few Facebook application providers were using it, which makes it kind of irrelevant for the enterprise.
Compare Google's coverage to that of Amazon Web Services. Since its announcement in July 2002, the various services contained under the AWS umbrella have received a steady stream of press and accolades. Much of that is due to marketing (and the phenomenal technology evangelism program Amazon put into place), but part of it is also that successful start-ups are passing on their own success stories independent of Amazon.
Two quick examples of this are SmugMug and Animoto. Both are stories that were originally broadcast by the customers themselves, and then evangalized by Amazon. Almost everyone in the "cloud-o-sphere" knows about these guys as a result. In fact, Animoto's story is the most prevalent case study of the value of elasticity in Web applications today.
So, where is the Google equivalent? I've heard about a few Facebook widgets being developed on App Engine (and that is sort of cool), but I certainly haven't heard any other type of start-up trumpet the importance of App Engine to their success. Furthermore, there are zero examples of non-Web businesses using App Engine to change the nature of their IT processes. (See Eli Lilly's story for an AWS counterpoint.)
So, all of this might lead you to believe I'm anti-App Engine, or at least not confident that it is important except as a PaaS example. And until yesterday, you would be right. However, I spent the day yesterday at the Cloud Connect conference, hosted at the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, Calif. Google was much more visible here (in part because they were a "platinum sponsor"), and perhaps more importantly, the "how to" sessions they hosted Wednesday afternoon were packed by interested developers and technologists.… Read more
Randy Bias, chief technology officer of ServePath cloud offering GoGrid, penned a post recently that raises an interesting distinction within the once uniformly defined infrastructure-as-a-service space.
To briefly recap the cloud market for context, commercial cloud computing has traditionally been seen as consisting of three distinct offerings:
software as a service (SaaS): Complete application systems delivered over the Internet on some form of "on-demand" billing system. Examples include Salesforce.com, WebEx, and Workday. platform as a service (PaaS): Development platforms and middleware systems hosted by the vendor, allowing developers to simply code and deploy without directly interacting with underlying infrastructure. Examples include Google AppEngine, Microsoft Azure, and Force.com. infrastructure as a service (IaaS): Raw infrastructure, such as servers and storage, is provided from the vendor premises directly as an on-demand service. Examples include Amazon Web Services, GoGrid, and Flexiscale.
What Randy is arguing, however, is that there is a clear distinction between the service ecosystem approach of Amazon Web Services (which he calls an infrastructure Web service) and a more utilitarian infrastructure-focused cloud service such as the ones many of the hosting companies-turned-cloud providers have produced, including GoGrid, Flexiscale, and Rackspace CloudServers. He calls those companies providers of "cloud centers."… Read more
There has been significant discussion over the short life of the term "cloud computing" about how little it differs from concepts like managed hosting and ASPs. And there is some truth to these observations; if you really look closely, what are the key differences between EC2 and a more traditional managed hosting provider? Some would say multi-tenancy, self-service and pay-per-use (including billing and elastic capacity). With specific regard to EC2, I would tend to agree.
However, if this is the great "paradigm shift" of cloud computing, as offered by smart people like Krishnan Subramanian of CloudAve, then let me offer that these basic extensions to existing hosting models will be peanuts next to a shift that will create one of the most significant market opportunities since the explosive growth of the Internet itself. I'm not dealing in hyperbole here; I honestly believe that there is a clear evolutionary step to the cloud occurring well after stand-alone self-service clouds are mainstream (which they arguably are today) that will inspire massive innovation.
That game changing technology disruption will be the federation of disparate clouds, and the distribution of software, data and billing across commercial and private cloud boundaries. In other words, the introduction of secure, reliable workload mobility in an extension of the Internet itself--an "Intercloud", so to speak.… Read more
Congratulations to Werner Vogels, the now legendary CTO of Amazon and one of the principle drivers of the Amazon Web Services vision. InfoWorld announced Sunday that Werner earned its CTO of the Year award. The accolades are rolling in from all over, but I think all agree that this was a well-deserved recognition for Werner and his team. In fact, Werner's recognition of the team effort that led to this award just makes him that much more of a class act.
What leaves me shaking my head, however, is that it took this long to see the incredible feat that Amazon pulled off, and the leadership that pushed a retail goods company to see compute capacity as a logical extension of their business.… Read more
Amazon today used the Le Web 3 conference as an opportunity to announce the availability of EC2 in the European Union, along with several associated services. Details are available from the Amazon Web Services blog:
We've created a new region for Europe, separate and distinct from the existing region in the United States. For fault tolerance, data separation, and stability, each EC2 region is an entity unto itself; issues within one region won't affect the other one. This means that Amazon Machine Images (AMIs), security groups, and SSH keypairs must be created anew in each region. We're working on tools to make it easy to move this information between regions. Also, as we learn more about how customers use multiple regions, we will add APIs to make it even easier for them to do so.
With the exception of support for Microsoft Windows and for Amazon DevPay (both of which will be ready before too long), every feature of EC2 is available in the new region, including Elastic Block Storage and Elastic IP Addresses.
SimpleDB, one of Amazon.com's suite of online services that people can use to build Web sites or other computing operations, is out of private beta testing.
The service lets programmers store database records at Amazon and extract specific data from them. Along with the shift to public beta testing, Amazon cut the price for storing data from $1.50 to 25 cents per gigabyte per month.
SimpleDB, introduced nearly a year ago, is a newer arrival into the Amazon Web Services suite. Other services let customers process data, store raw data, distribute content, and store messages sent among … Read more