Checking Out Other IaaS Companies

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We spend a good deal of time in this chapter describing Amazon’s EC2 because it’s the best known of the IaaS operations. However, it’s by no means the only one. Companies that have entered the IaaS market include Rackspace Cloud, GoGrid, MediaTemple, GridLayer, Flexiscale, and Joyent. All of these, like Amazon, offer a pay-per-use arrangement, with the prices, capabilities, and terms of usage varying.

The services they provide are similar to EC2 as well in that they provide access to a resource pool and enable the configuration of virtual servers and the installation of platform software and Web server software in a simple way. Their approaches vary.

These companies (and others not mentioned) will inevitably be joined by major IT companies such as IBM, Hewlett-Packard, Cisco, EMC, Microsoft, Oracle, CSC, and Accenture, all of whom are strategizing and some of whom are building data centers and preparing to enter the market.



Rackspace
Rackspace Cloud, a spinoff from Rackspace, for example, entered the market in 2005 before Amazon did and offers a service that is much closer to an ISP service than Amazon’s.

It focuses primarily on attracting customers that want to host Web sites and its charges are more oriented to Web site usage. It charges for

✓ Storage space
✓ Bandwidth usage
✓ Compute cycles (which constitute its own measure of CPU and memory usage)

However, it also offers “instant servers” that can be bought on an hourly basis with prices based on memory used and instant storage.

This service is for companies that might want to gradually move their whole operation into the cloud (assuming that all their software can run on commodity servers — no-frills servers designed for basic workloads or servers grouped in clusters to provide lots of computing power through virtualization).



GoGrid
GoGrid has similar pricing to Rackspace, charging for

✓ Storage space (more than 10GB)
✓ Outbound data transfer
✓ Server RAM hours (with different prices for different combinations of memory and CPU)

GoGrid emphasizes ease of use and offers a greater level of technical control (including load balancing) than either the Amazon EC2 or Rackspace cloud.



Others
Many other companies are entering the IaaS market. Here are a few:
✓ MediaTemple is a highly successful ISP that’s turning its hand to IaaS, but continuing with ISP-type pricing.

✓ Gridlayer is a grid computing company that has more than 12,000 servers deployed. It offers virtual private servers, storage, and virtual private data centers. The virtual private data center is what it sounds like — a collection of server resources that can be configured according to need.

✓ Flexiscale is like most of the IaaS companies already described, although it distinguishes itself by providing an API to its environmental software (which most companies don’t). It also provides a virtual LAN (VLAN) to each customer. It claims to be significantly less expensive than Amazon EC2, although it’s clear from the pricing that other IaaS companies may come in less expensive than Amazon EC2, depending on your needs.

✓ Joyent Accelerator is an ISP that has moved into the IaaS market and its pricing (based on a monthly fee for specific levels of hardware) reflects that. Its Zeus Accelerator is a virtual appliance that manages Web applications to guarantee performance. Joyent also has specific expertise in most Web platforms, including Ruby on Rails.

Source of Information : cloud computing for dummies 2010 retail ebook distribution

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