The Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) cloud market is nothing if not dynamic. The number of vendors in this space is increasing; marketers are trying to distinguish their company’s offerings in what is often seen as a commodity market. And competition is driving down prices while expanding features.
Throughout the IaaS Cloud Buyer’s Guide we have described offerings from some of the best known names in cloud computing, including Amazon, Microsoft, Google, Rackspace, IBM and HP. We’ve also reviewed RightScale, a cloud management service that does not offer its own IaaS but instead helps customers manage their resources across multiple clouds.
After reviewing numerous IaaS offerings several things became clear. Compute and storage resources are priced like commodities. If you have to analyze data you’ve collected for market research and you are using standard tools, like SAS or R for statistical analysis, you can probably get by just as well using any of the major providers and pay roughly the same amount for comparable virtual servers.
Another point that should be clear by now is that there is more to cloud computing than cost per hour of server or the cost per gigabyte of storage. Some services, like Microsoft and Amazon, are general-purpose IaaS platforms that will support many different types of applications. Google Compute Engine specializes in batch oriented, data intensive and high performance computing applications. That’s not the kind of cloud to take your highly interactive Web application to.
Dan Sullivan is an author, systems architect, and consultant with over 20 years of IT experience with engagements in systems architecture, enterprise security, advanced analytics and business intelligence. He has worked in a broad range of industries, including financial services, manufacturing, pharmaceuticals, software development, government, retail, gas and oil production, power generation, life sciences, and education. Dan has written 16 books and numerous articles and white papers about topics ranging from data warehousing, Cloud Computing and advanced analytics to security management, collaboration, and text mining.
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