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EC2 Vs. App Engine Vs. GoGrid Vs. AppNexus 109

Posted by kdawson
from the seeing-shapes-in-the-clouds dept.
snydeq writes "InfoWorld's Peter Wayner delves into the ill-defined realm of 'cloud computing,' providing a deeper look at four shared services: Amazon EC2, Google App Engine, GoGrid, and AppNexus. Offering wildly divergent amounts of hand-holding at various layers in the stack, the services simplify your workload but force you into a set, 'ball-and-chain-computing' routine that you may not prefer. Sure, the services allow you to pull CPU cycles from thin air whenever you need to, but they can't solve the deepest problems that make it hard for applications to scale gracefully, Wayner writes. He describes these 'clouds' as an evolving experiment, rife with potential but 'far from clear winners over traditional shared Web hosting.' The sobering look at the trend includes a QuickTime tour of each service — EC2, App Engine, GoGrid, AppNexus (those links all .MOV)."
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EC2 Vs. App Engine Vs. GoGrid Vs. AppNexus

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  • by strider2k (945409) on Wednesday July 23, 2008 @04:07PM (#24310053) Homepage
    Even after reading the wikipedia article on Cloud computing, I still can't give a good definition of it. I know the general concept but if a non-tech person asked me to describe it, I'll give a blank stare.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 23, 2008 @04:19PM (#24310225)

      you mean the definition of cloud computing is still cloudy?

    • Don't worry, multiple experts [slashdot.org] agree that there is a clear consensus that there is no real consensus on what cloud computing is.
    • I'll take a stab at it, though, someone is bound to try and correct me.

      I would categorize cloud computing as derivative of grid computing, if you will. You throw some crap at the beast, but unlike grid computing, there can be many independent cells working completely disconnected from the rest, possibly even unaware of them or even unable to communicate between one another.

      Like the clouds in the sky, they don't need to be connected or aware of each other for it to rain.
    • So you're saying you fail Rowell's Extension to Einstein's Test of Comprehension? Sad, sad day.

      Einstein: You do not really understand something unless you can explain it to your grandmother.
      Rowell's Extension: You totally don't understand something if you can't even explain it to a bunch of geeks. Also, they'll probably laugh at you.

    • I think the best way i've heard it explained is:

      "When details of implementation are sufficiently hidden away that you no longer have to think about them, people often draw a 'cloud' around it, just like you do with the internet where (most of us) don't have to worry about all the wires and the protocols but it's just there, and it just works.."

      Cloud computing is trying to draw the same cloud around.. computing (resources), you don't have to worry about connectivity, electricity, how to make db's and file systems scale across systems.. it's an abstract cloud that's just there without having to worry about it.

    • From the way cloud computing is implemented with EC2, my basic definition of cloud computing is that it is "On Demand" computing. Unlike the Internet, which is a series of tubes, cloud computing is like a bunch of trucks that you just dump stuff on. If your servers get too busy, just dump the work on more trucks.

      For instance, it allows a small web site to survive the slashdot effect by starting up a dozen servers for a few hours or days, costing much less than having a dozen servers running 365.2425 days a

    • While this may over-simplify the Cloud Computing definition, I tried to explain and categorize the different segments within with the idea of the "Cloud Pyramid." You essentially have 3 segments: Cloud Applications, Cloud Platforms and Cloud Infrastructure. It's all broken down here [gogrid.com].

  • by PC and Sony Fanboy (1248258) on Wednesday July 23, 2008 @04:15PM (#24310181) Journal
    I'd choose Google App Engine. Since no one really knows what cloud computing is, and no one knows what google does, I think they make a good fit.

    oh wait. I do know what google does - It makes the internet better... and it prints money (I guess...)
    • by albee01 (1326563) on Wednesday July 23, 2008 @04:51PM (#24310747)

      Of the four, Google seems to be the most limiting, at least on the surface. If I understand correctly, Google's offering requires the app to be written in Python and it denies some Python functionality such as file writes.

      Amazon's offering, sitting at the other end of the spectrum, allows you to run a full instance of Linux complete with root level access.

      The other two are not as confining as Google but more restrictive than Amazon.

      On a side note, spam raining from the cloud has become a problem for at least Amazon. Some blacklists are blocking IP addresses owned by Amazon's EC2. If you want to run a mail server in the cloud, it just might rain on your parade.

      • by pimpimpim (811140)
        I've been looking into this a bit, and the amazon option seemed the best. The problem of most (I'd say 90%) "cloud" computing systems is that you have no control over the software. Packages are precompiled and all. That sounds easy, but if part of your web solution is based on a specific version of, say, python, you might not be able to use it. And what happens when you change your software at a later point, requiring a different combination of versions than you were using before? Or what if the "cloud" com
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by jlar (584848)

          "I've been looking into this a bit, and the amazon option seemed the best."

          I also looked a bit into Google and Amazons offerings for at Python project. Google was definitely the cheapest and if I could squeeze my project into the limitations they have established I would have chosen it. Unfortunately it is not possible to install C and Fortran extensions to Python (due to security reasons, you can install pure Python modules). This was a showstopper for me.

          The critique of not providing access to a local fil

  • In ten years, corporate data centers will be like COBOL is today. There will still be a lot of legacy data centers manned by dinosaurs. The cool kids, young and old, will be in the cloud.
  • Wow (Score:5, Interesting)

    by BasharTeg (71923) on Wednesday July 23, 2008 @04:27PM (#24310339) Homepage

    Finally, a burst of common sense on the latest hype. Hosted servers have offered many of the benefits you get out of "cloud" computing for years, without locking you into a particular vendor or platform. With virtualization, you should be able to build your own images and farm them out to hosting companies, using your technology and platform of choice. Clustered ESX and SANs already give us the resource scalability we need for most systems, partitioning finishes the job. You can just pay a hosted server company to host your vmware image on their ESX cluster and scale up your storage as needed on their SAN. The key is that YOU build a scalable design.

    I highly doubt a majority of businesses are going to lock themselves into one hosting provider's specific development platform just to take advantage of hosted servers that push themselves into the next layer.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by snuf23 (182335)

      I highly doubt a majority of businesses are going to lock themselves into one hosting provider's specific development platform just to take advantage of hosted servers that push themselves into the next layer."

      This depends on the service. Amazon's ec2 is basically just Xen virtual servers provisioned on the fly. s3 is a little weird but there are plenty of tools available to use it in whatever your application is running on. Code changes to support it are not all that difficult.

      • by BasharTeg (71923)

        I agree, for the "cloud" systems like Amazon's EC2, but then isn't this just managed/hosted servers plus clustered virtualization plus their proprietary database system (S3)? You're still moving from fairly industry standard SQL (despite so many damned vendor extensions to SQL), to Amazon's S3 storage. Similar to how part of the "value" Google is trying to add is locking you into their non-SQL database storage.

        I certainly understand that SQL has shortcomings, but is vendor lock-in, especially hosting prov

        • by snuf23 (182335)

          You are confusing S3 with Amazon's SimpleDB service. I currently don't use SimpleDB. We use a SQL relational database cluster running on ec2 instances. We backup/recover off of S3. Going to another host is a matter of redoing the backup scripts (easy) and changing the asset server settings from pointing to S3 to wherever the data is now being stored.

          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by BasharTeg (71923)

            You're right, I did have those confused.

            So it sounds like you have hosted virtual servers and some hosted SAN storage. That's cool, and it's a smart way to do business.

            It's only when people call it "cloud" and act like it's something crazy and new beyond a combination of virtualization and SAN storage, managed by someone else just doesn't seem like it's worth all this hype.

            I have a Vmware ESX cluster. I have an EMC SAN. They're supported through contracts with my reseller. When there are problems, the h

            • by snuf23 (182335)

              Yeah in my last job which wasn't a web business we went the virtual server attached to SAN route. It's great tech and works well for HA and expansion. The key difficulty is that there is a high cost of entry. Yes you could also go with having someone host this for you but at least with the vendors I've talked to there is always a long term contract associated.

              You are right that on the technical side there isn't much that's very new about "cloud" computing. The key difference in these offerings is that with

              • by snuf23 (182335)

                Oops missed an edit - I wanted to say if Amazon messes up (see the s3 outage last weekend) there isn't anything you can do about it. Which is one reason why I feel more hesitant about using their more specialized services (such as simple db).

    • by leenks (906881)

      For most people that are going to be using "cloud", the limitation is I/O bandwidth - something that SAN really doesn't give you at all.

      • by BasharTeg (71923)

        To handle an increase in I/O bandwidth:

        Add disks, thus adding spindles

        Use a RAID technology that supports bandwidth over storage, like RAID 10

        Upgrade your SAN heads for greater throughput and more ports (be they fibre channel or iSCSI)

        Upgrade your SAN switch for greater throughput if you're using fibre channel

        Add more paths to your clients and use smart load balancing SAN client software

        Partition your load among different LUNs on different SAN heads

        There's no reason SANs can't scale up through upgraded SAN

    • by ruphus13 (890164)
      True dat. There have been hosted servers and virtual servers (ala Linode) for a while now. However, for a class of applications that need to scale almost dynamically and rapidly, and do not want to have to provision peak-load machines for anything outside of peak load, the 'cloud' offerings are ideal. Being able to programmatically scale via bottleneck alleviation through more 'hardware', the offerings make a lot of sense. The ability to have images that can be fired up (pretty soon without any lag) on
    • by Isao (153092)
      I highly doubt a majority of businesses are going to lock themselves into one hosting provider's specific development platform just to take advantage of hosted servers that push themselves into the next layer.

      I would have though the same thing about J2EE, but every site ends up using proprietary extensions in Websphere, or whatever, and then has an terrible time migrating to another platform. It's called "vendor lock-in". I don't see why it wouldn't happen again in the cloud. Heck, there are still plen

      • by BasharTeg (71923)

        Sure, but are you going to choose your vendor lock-in for development and database/storage technology in the same decision that you make regarding a choice in hosting providers? It would be like if I had to choose one colocation facility or hosted server provider based on whether I wanted to do J2EE or .NET. I'd rather not bundle my hosting purchasing decisions with my development platform purchasing decisions. These are obviously two of the most critical technology decisions a company can make, and maki

  • by dedazo (737510) on Wednesday July 23, 2008 @04:31PM (#24310427) Journal

    Comparisons are OK, but let's look at reliability. EC2 is not the same as S3, but the recent [readwriteweb.com] fiasco with S3 and SQS should give people pause before considering using any other Amazon cloud services. Two of my clients were hit with this over the weekend.

    I don't know what kinds of volumes (traffic and hosting) Google AE is handling at this point, but at this point I think I would trust Google more than Amazon. One of the issues with the S3 downtime for many people was the fact that Amazon itself (and all its properties) continued to run perfectly while all the sites that hosted images and other content with them failed. Does Google use its own infrastructure to host AE? I don't know, but if they do I'd trust them a hell of a lot more than AWS.

    At this point I'm thinking I'm not going to recommend AWS anymore.

    • Does Google use its own infrastructure to host AE? I don't know, but if they do I'd trust them a hell of a lot more than AWS.

      is it their own hardware and network resources? i'm sure. if AE goes down does that mean that search goes down with it, so they'll have to fix both quickly? not a chance. i'm not sure what "use its own infrastructure" is supposed to mean in this argument, neither company is going to support their free-to-use service as well as their own makes-us-money website

      • by dedazo (737510)

        free-to-use service

        While AE is free, anyone using it seriously would wait until Google finishes putting together a pricing model for it so they can pay and secure a formal SLA and some sort of support. They might have already done this, I don't know.

        None of the AWS are free.

  • EC2 is pretty sweet (Score:4, Interesting)

    by donnyspi (701349) <junk5@donnys[ ]com ['pi.' in gap]> on Wednesday July 23, 2008 @04:32PM (#24310439) Homepage
    Just get the EC2 and S3 plugins for Firefox and it's really easy to fire up instances and manage them. Sure, there's a learning curve, but once you really get it, it's awesome.
  • Missing the point? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by DragonWriter (970822) on Wednesday July 23, 2008 @04:33PM (#24310471)

    Sure, the services allow you to pull CPU cycles from thin air whenever you need to, but they can't solve the deepest problems that make it hard for applications to scale gracefully, Wayner writes.

    AFAICT, they aren't intended to. The deepest problems are software problems for which there is no general solution, only problem-specific solutions for each particular task; what they are intended to deal with is the hardware problem that having a scalable software solution is of limited value if you have a fixed pool of hardware and have to go through disruptive upgrades when you expand that pool of hardware (and deal with the associated capital costs.)

    Cloud computing services are, largely, tools to help dynamically "right-size" hardware, changing it from a capital investment that requires predicting the future well to plan right to an operating costs that can be quickly adjusted based on changing needs. Complaining that they don't solve the fundamental problems of software scalability seems to be missing the point.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Teilo (91279)

      Yes, this whole article, I think, misses the point. The cloud, by its very nature, forces you to develop a solution that is intrinsically scalable. It doesn't develop it for you. Who the heck imagines that it is the responsibility of a hosting provider to make your platform scalable? Give me a break!

      EC2 is not your typical co-hosting service, nor should you ever treat it like one. To properly implement a platform upon it, you, the programmer / admin need to implement machine images which have the ability to

      • No cloud service should be judged by how much engineering this requires, because it's not their responsibility.

        Yes, I agree with you, but I don't think that everyone knows this yet. I interviewed several users who seemed very annoyed that they had to backup their MySQL databases themselves.

        Why? Here's a quote from Google AppEngine's front page:

        Google App Engine makes it easy to build scalable applications that grow from one user to millions of users without infrastructure headaches.

        Amazon is a bit more g

  • Amazon EC2 wins (Score:5, Informative)

    by orionr (1078189) on Wednesday July 23, 2008 @04:34PM (#24310479)

    I run a small startup in the Boston area and have been using Amazon EC2 (plus S3, SQS, and the rest of the AWS family) for the last year. It's worked for us like a champ. A little downtime in the beginning plus some S3 outages, but with the right backup, failover, and restore procedures in place we've gotten reasonable uptime.

    The big requirements for us were the following:

    1. Ability to move our website (and code base) elsewhere if needed. Could be in-house, to another cloud provider, etc.
    2. Minimize up-front cost and allow for massive scaling if needed
    3. Cost competitive servers/computing over time
    4. Cost competitive storage/disk over time

    App Engine fails the first criteria, since (at least currently) you can't build a BigTable application on anything but Google App Engine. "Cloud computing" in general beat out traditional hosting on the second, third, and fourth points. I hadn't checked out GoGrid or AppNexus at the time, but other competitors (Sun, etc.) couldn't match Amazon's price-performance specs.

    So, with all of those requirements, Amazon EC2 won out and I'm a happy customer.

    • by msimm (580077)
      I'd bet there are probably a lot of people (like me) that didn't catch the news in April when EC2 added persistent storage and static ip addresses as options. Another thing I like is the size of the user community and available information and related projects (like scalr [google.com]).
  • by slashkitty (21637) on Wednesday July 23, 2008 @04:34PM (#24310485) Homepage
    I'm not familiar with all of them, but with amazon's service, it doesn't "spin up more servers to handle demand" by any stretch of the imagination (unlike what the name infers). You'd have to build an application that does this. Sure, it makes ordering and setting up new servers easy, but it still has to be done by your program. With google's system, there is no need to even worry about scaling up, because it just looks like one system. Unfortunately, google's system is way to limited for anything but customized, simple db apps. I can't wait for it to expand it's feature set.
  • Moving to ec2 (Score:4, Interesting)

    by snuf23 (182335) on Wednesday July 23, 2008 @04:35PM (#24310495)

    The cost analysis was really what did it versus our managed hosting plan (1/10th the cost per month). Auto scaling and healing of the application cluster was also a benefit. To scale with a traditional host meant getting locked into a contract for the added server(s).

    One thing about ec2 is that it forces you to use best practices for disaster recovery. Instances don't commonly just "disappear" but you need to plan for it. Well tuned ec2 images can have your site up and restored from backup automatically within minutes.

    ec2 / s3 is far from perfect and certainly won't meet everyone's needs. The downtime s3 has seen (like last weekend) would be devastating to some businesses. Of course even with a traditional host you may have downtime due to truck crash [datacenterknowledge.com] or other random act.

    • by slashkitty (21637)
      "Auto scaling and healing of the application cluster was also a benefit" I think you're thinking of the likes of 'scalr', which is a separate service / program ($50/month from scalr.net) . Amazon would have done well to build this in from the start.
      • by snuf23 (182335)

        I'm thinking on any number of tools built around ec2 to support this behavior. Some are commercial offerings (like rightscale.com or scalr.net). You can however roll your own methods to do this if you like.
        Basically you can use open source monitoring tools to check for whatever states you need to look for (server down, cpu load too heavy etc.) and trigger actions based on that (bring up another server). There is nothing really magical that the pay services are doing. It's just a cost question, roll your own

        • by slashkitty (21637)
          Well, if you're rolling your own load balancer and elastic scaling infrastructure, why don't you do it with faster, cheaper and more reliable servers. Why would you pick ec2?

          All the features they have with starting, stopping and adding servers can be done in a dedicated server environment which has a much better price / performance.

          • by snuf23 (182335)

            No upfront cost versus buying your own hardware. No long term contract for leasing. Ability to scale up and down without needing to purchase/lease additional hardware.
            These are some reasons why it is appealing to startups.

  • Capitalization (Score:1, Offtopic)

    by ari_j (90255)
    I'll get modded down by all the grammar nazi nazis, but it has to be said: Correct capitalization of the abbreviation "vs." would have made the title of this article much more readable. But that would have required editing.
  • I see a ton of value in "cloud" computing ... but in some cases, I'm not 100% certain what the difference between a cloud and a classic farm or cluster really is. I have a simple public-facing SOA call that needs to scale to hundreds of thousands of calls per second, with automatic failover and preferably automatic scaling. GAE gives me some of that; EC2 gives me almost none of that, without something like RightScale. I've talked to the AppNexus people a bit ... not as cheap to get into, higher performanc
    • EC2 gives me almost none of that, without something like RightScale.

      Ummm... maybe you should be using RightScale, then?

      If you need hundreds of thousands of calls per second, you're going to need a lot of resources... I don't know what rightscale costs, but I don't think it's very much.

      For your purposes, do you really need something like auto-scaling? If your load doesn't vary much, just spin up a bunch of EC2 instances and run a monitoring program. Overloaded? Spin up a few more instances.

      • by BadERA (107121)

        We don't yet have enough data to know what our load looks like, or when/why it will vary. Holiday seasons will be higher load. Probably certain hours of the day as well. Possibly around certain events. Hard to say.

        • We don't yet have enough data to know what our load looks like, or when/why it will vary.

          Well, this is where the rightscales of the world (I forget the names of the other automated ec2 scalers are.. scalr or something?) fit in. If you don't want to roll your own monitoring/scaling, you can rent somebody else's. :) Or rent someone else's until you have the time to roll your own.

          But, anyhow, if you have such variable load, you'd most likely save money (I haven't seen your numbers, so who can say for sure?) using some type of rentable CPU. During the holiday seasons, do you really want to buy n

          • by BadERA (107121)

            Fantastic writeup, but completely irrelevant to my scenario. Believe me, I dig cloud computing in general ... but which service will prove to be a fit remains to be seen. I just don't fully understand the distinction between a cloud and a cluster or a farm. The definition of cloud even varies from cloud to cloud, provider to provider, user to user.

            That said, AWS's lead evangelist contacted me after seeing my post here, and several of my doubts re: AWS specifically have been allayed. However, the GAE model,

  • by psmears (629712) on Wednesday July 23, 2008 @05:01PM (#24310911)
    From the article:

    ...any Web site filled with an endless stream of mostly forgettable comments trolling for reactions from the rival fans

    I can't think of any site to fit that description...

  • I tried to set up an app on Google's AppEngine, and got an error saying that they're out of space. They'll email me when space is available.

    That somewhat deflates the promise of great scalability, etc.

  • First time i heard a vendor use it was a week ago.. Now its everywhere.

  • on Go Grid...they bill you repeatedly for grid you have not used, then refuse to refund your money. They have a "pay as you go" plan, you pay, you pay, you pay, but nothing goes!!
    • on Go Grid...they bill you repeatedly for grid you have not used, then refuse to refund your money. They have a "pay as you go" plan, you pay, you pay, you pay, but nothing goes!!

      Would love to talk to you about your billing experience. Can you drop me an email ( michael [at] gogrid [dot] com )? I want to be sure that your issue was resolved and if it wasn't, I can make sure it is and then some.

      -Michael
      (tech evangelist for GoGrid.com)

    • by prat393 (757559)
      Our company used ServePath's GridPath servers, their virtualized offering which, I believe, is the backbone behind the GoGrid service (which I believe to be basically a somewhat automated billing wrapper around GridPath). The experience was horrible, with frequent downtime, and one experience where our server was down for over 30 hours; even the upstream ISV was unable to diagnose the problem, until our server instance was simply deleted and restored from an image. We're still using ServePath, but we've m
      • Actually, the Grid Series product is completely different infrastructure and technology (even a different cage environment within our 20k sq ft data center).
        GoGrid is different entirely and has been in development for 2 years, long before the whole "cloud computing" buzz started. Much of the features and functionality are based on what we learned from 7 years of being a managed service provider of internet hosting.
        Thanks for the comment.

  • Beta indeed.

    I decided to sign up for the GoGrid Public Beta $50 Trial.

    The first page asks for your email address, a password, and a pre-filled promo code.

    The next page asks for your personal information and CC details for billing past the free credit.

    All this information was filled out correctly but their 3rd party merchant biller failed to process the details and returned an error. This may have been a glitch or it is possible that the biller does not support non-US transactions

    In a second attempt to sign

    • The reason it might have failed is because of anti-fraud checks (e.g., were you traveling?). Lots of online fraud checks looks at a variety of things like IP address vs. credit card address and if there is a big distance difference, it may be flagged as potential fraud.

      I am the Technology Evangelist for GoGrid (just to put it out there). I would think you would feel a bit more comfortable knowing that it was rejected because of a fraud check flag than just scooping up credit cards.

      LMK if I can help you get

      • Thanks for your response. Would be good to give this service a go

        I was registering from home and this IP resolves to the same city as is listed with my card details. My middle initial appears on my card but no corresponding field during registration. This may have caused the flag.

        Also, I can not login because I am not registered and I can't signup because i am registered. Maybe this needs looking into. I have logged a support email [No Ref] but if you are able to assist me, I will gladly take you up on your

    • by vikarti (1309635)
      I had same situation(only different trial code was used so I have 100US$ trial) In my case IP from which I originally registers even doesn't correspond to my country(there is reason for that) and i got failed transaction. In several days I tried registering again(from home with IP corresponding to country), got message that registered arleady. After that I tried to login with password from original registration - voila!, account WAS fully created. p.s.Now if GoGrid allows for 'normal' clould computing as F
      • Well, credit card transactions are a slippery slope to travel. On one side, you could allow all cards to be processed and run the risk of a spammer spawning a bunch of spam servers using a fraudulent credit card, or, on the other side you could have some sort of fraud check that may bounce some credit cards out of the acceptable threshold and then process those manually with a verbal confirmation later. We elected to do the later to ensure as much integrity as possible for GoGrid users.

        In terms of GoGrid vs

        • In terms of GoGrid vs. EC2 comparisons, there are, obviously, some differences between the services. More info here [gogrid.com].

          You know, it's kind of funny. That comparison was one of the many reasons I never evaluated GoGrid. I figured, if you were that misleading in your claims there, you must be misleading in all of your other claims as well.

          For example:

          You assert that "1 GB RAM/1 Xeon Core server deployed for 1 hour" costs $0.10 on both GG and EC2. However, further investigation reveals that an EC2 instance actually does cost $0.10 per hour, however, a GG instance costs $0.19 per hour, or nearly 2x the cost of EC2! To ice t

          • Good points. Hope I can address them to your satisfaction. First, as I wrote it the blog post, it is difficult to make a true apples to apples comparison. The services are different in many ways. I simply bill GoGrid as an "alternative" to EC2 with some additional features.

            The $0.19/hr pricing on GoGrid is for the Pay-as-you-go plan. The comparison chart (as it is footnoted) shows pricing based on the Advanced Cloud pre-paid plan. There are other plans available as well. See Pre-Paid Plans [gogrid.com].

            Outbound transfer

            • I simply bill GoGrid as an "alternative" to EC2 with some additional features.

              With GoGrid, can I make my own server images? I'd have to, because you don't support any Linux distros other than RedHat.

              Do you have something analogous to EC2's "Availability Zones"? Please don't point to your SLA, because a usage credit could never cover my lost business and lost goodwill. With GoGrid, one careless backhoe operator could put your customers out of business for a week. EC2 doesn't provide an SLA, yet I trust their geographically-diverse infrastructure more than I trust anybody's single

              • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

                by HighTechDad (1331813)

                Don't worry, I'm pretty thick-skinned. You have some valid questions that others probably have so I'm glad to help in what little way I can.

                Currently you can't make your own images, but that is a feature request that is a common one. We do have other Linux distros, specifically, CentOS. We are working on Ubuntu among others as well.

                Obviously, we are slightly smaller in terms of infrastructure compared to Amazon. However, we do have a 20,000 sq ft data center and understand hosting. Other products of our hav

  • One thing I wonder about is whether these cloud services will suffer the same problems as other centralized infrastructure installations - eg. such as the power grid.

    Presumably Amazon has some actual very high but finite number of physical servers that is supporting EC2. What happens when (just for example) Christmas comes around and there are huge spikes in activity for specific hours of the day as people do last minute christmas shopping?

    When across the board a large number of their customers suddenly al

  • One thing that is interesting to note is that Google, Amazon (and AppNexus, I think) do NOT offer Windows machines by the slice. Now, in the off chance that you are looking for a cloud solution that requires windows tools, and don't want to go with wine or a port, GoGrid might be your provider of choice, until MS has their own offering, or others step up.
  • If you have a lot of servers already, and would like the scalability of "cloud computing" where you easily add more cores/ram/disk, check out this demo [3tera.net] by 3tera.com [3tera.com].

    I'm sure it is expensive, and I've not talked to them yet, but it sure would be great to "draw out" a new Dev or QA environment when you need one. Then when the project is complete, you can recycle those resources back into the cloud. If your Production system needs more cores, simply add them.

    • There's an open source cloud engine. Eucalyptus, or something like that.

      • by nullchar (446050)

        Thanks for the info [ucsb.edu]. Eucalyptus is an open source implementation of EC2, but does not support user-defined images yet. The admin tools are designed for your own data center or computer lab.

        Unfortunately, the FAQ lists nothing about data storage. With Amazon's EC2, you cannot persist data inside your image, so I wonder how it works with Eucalyptus. (This comment [ucsb.edu] says they don't support an S3 implementation.) Still, this appears to be a good starting point if you want to roll your own cloud.

  • [1] Amazon still continues to have stability problems. An 8 hour outage for S3 - a service that's supposed to provide 99.99% up time? It seems like Amazon is still working through some of the problems associated with scaling on a massive level. Google has already solved those problems. [2] If your user base is not all in the US I don't think amazon can compete in any way with google's network of data centers. [3] Amazon aws has a different pricing model and approach than App Engine. But I think google
  • From reading the article (sorry about that) I get the impression the author doesn't really understand Google's AppEngine offering.

    Yes, these services let you pull more CPU cycles from thin air whenever demand appears, but they can't solve the deepest problems that make it hard for applications to scale gracefully

    AppEngine does exactly that (or at least tries to). In order to do so, it takes away many features that you might consider essential, and forces you to organise your code and your database in very specific ways. But if you can accept all of these limitations, and learn to work with them rather than against them, your application automatically becomes unbelievably scalable.

    This is

  • Cloud computing? lots of load on the server, better make it a beowulf cluster... Oh wait, why not get a bunch of PCs running Plan9? If you have gigabit ethernet, it'll automagicaly include a big honkin RAID array, and it'll be multicore. the separet CPUs don't have to be powerfull.

Reference the NULL within NULL, it is the gateway to all wizardry.

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