Posts Tagged ‘EC2

Here’s my attempt to put together the list of things I expect to happen to Cloud Computing in 2009 – kind of natural thing to do the fist day of the year, right?

Overall, this is going to be a year when cloud computing will start rapidly maturing with competition heating up on the infrastructure/platform level, real private cloud solutions hitting the market, traditional applications increasingly moving to SaaS or hybrid model, and browser offline becoming a reality.

Let’s go through these one by one – and go through the IaaS and PaaS markets first.

Platform and Infrastructure as a Service (PaaS and IaaS) markets maturing and blurring.

IaaS is basically Amazon EC2 approach with hosters giving customers the ability to instantiate and control virtual machines running in the datacenter. This is a natural progression from the traditional server hosting model. However, this model of raw VM does not provide a lot of opportunity to differentiate which in turn is leading to higher competition and lower profit margins. We will see more and more platform functionality being added to infrastructure offerings and these two layers merging more and more.

Amazon is clearly adding more and more services besides EC2, and partners such as RightScale are adding automated scaling features normally associated with PaaS.

Even newcomers are now often shooting for something in between right from the get go. Can you tell where Windows Azure is? It is already kind of both infrastructure and platform.

Speaking of Windows Azure, this is likely going to be the year when it will hit the market. Folks at Microsoft are doing their best to make it easier for existing software ecosystem to get in with effectively the same or very similar tools they use today. The sheer size of the ecosystem, and this evolutionary approach is likely to immediately make Microsoft a serious player in the space.

VMware can definitely get into the top 3 as well if they execute well with their vCloud initiative. They would need to make sure that:

  • Their hosting partners can compete effectively against Amazon, Microsoft, Google, and others.
  • This pick your partner approach does not confuse the market, and
  • They don’t end up being behind competition by limiting themselves to basic infrastructure only.

The interesting aspect of that is that VMware really has the potential of forcing Microsoft to let partners run Azure. Today this is not the case and the only place where Azure exists is Microsoft’s datacenter.

It remains to be seen whether pure Platform as a Service players such as (with its and Google App Engine will be in the leaders group. They will likely start feeling pressure from the infrastructure level as I mentioned already but it might be challenging for them have the ease of migration and the flexibility that IaaS solutions have.

Also, Google seems to be making surprisingly small progress lately. They have posted some information on the upcoming System Status site and billing/quota dashboard – which means that the beta status is likely to be gone soon. However, their development story (Python as the only programming language and quite limited development environment) and the economy forcing them to concentrate on their core search and ad business are limiting their ability to compete.

Thoughts, comments on any of these?

I will continue with other trends next week.

Technorati Tags:
, , , , , , , , ,


Now that we had a few days to look at Microsoft’s Windows Azure it is time to compare it with other alternatives on the market. For our comparison we picked solutions from the biggest players in the market and potential to impact the industry in that area: Microsoft Windows Azure, Amazon Web Services, Google App Engine, and VMware vCloud.

It is obviously too early to declare a clear winner here. Below is a feature-by-feature comparison table. Here’s a quick summary for each of them.

Microsoft Windows Azure

Currently in early private beta but boasts an impressive set of APIs, great development story, and a promise for good enterprise integration.

Amazon Web Services

The most mature solution on the market and the first one to exit beta. Offers basic cloud infrastructure required (compute power to run virtual machines, storage, communication queues, database) and allows you to fully control your virtual machines and run your LAMP- or Microsoft-stack applications any way you like.

Google App Engine

Boasts the “drop your code and we’ll figure out the rest” approach taking care of all the scalability and infrastructure management for you.

VMware vCloud

A pre-announced solution promising to let you simply take your standard VMware virtual appliances and run them anywhere: on-premise or in a datacenter of any provider supporting VMware’s infrastructure.

Now let’s look at each of them closer and examine them feature by feature:







Early private CTP

Yes, commercially available

In public beta


Computing Architecture

You provide .NET code for front-end and back-end servers which
Microsoft then runs on Windows 2008 virtual machines according to your
environment specifications (how many machines of each kind you need, and so

Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) allows you to upload your XEN virtual
machine images to the infrastructure and gives you APIs to instantiate and
manage them.

You write your web application in Python or Django with a specific
set of limitations set by Google and submit the application code to them.

Lets you easily move your virtual machines between environments and
run them on premise or at any partner datacenter.

Load balancing




Not announced


Yes: application storage and SQL services

Yes: Simple Storage Service (S3) and SimpleDB

Yes: database Datastore APIs

Not announced

Message queuing for machine communcations

Yes: queues in Windows Azure storage

Yes: Simple Queue Service (SQS)


Not announced

Integration with other services

So called .NET services (aka BizTalk in the cloud):

Access control services, workflow service, service bus.

Live Mesh

Various Live services (contacts, mail, maps and so on.)

At the moment, all these components do not seem to be integrated with
the solution but rather bundled.


Yes, with existing Google services: authentication, mail, base, calendar,
contacts, documents, pictures, spreadsheets, YouTube.


Tied to the vendor datacenter




No, the VMs can be hosted by any of the partners or used on-premise

Development tools

Yes, integration into Visual Studio, support for any .NET languages,

Not applicable. Amazon simply runs your virtual machines and does not
care which development platform you are using on top of the base OS.

Yes, have basic editing, local simulation, and deployment tools.
Language selection limited to Python and Django.

Application-level tools such as Google Web Toolkit (GWT) do not seem
to have any integration with Google App Engine.

Not applicable. VMware simply runs your virtual machines and does not
care which development platform you are using on top of the base OS.

What’s your take? Did I miss any features or comparison criteria?

Technorati Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

Is VMware’s vCloud – a killer for Amazon’s EC2 services? It definitely sounds like they are shooting to get into the same market.

In a nutshell, Amazon allows you to have your (XEN-based) virtual machines run in Amazon’s data center and execute your application. This is great and makes Amazon a leader in that space today but there is a lock-in (as Richard Stallman was saying the other day) – all the APIs are proprietary and your application needs to be designed for EC2 and will only work there.

There is of course the Eucalyptus project seeking to create an on-premise open source version of EC2 but at the moment it is more of an experiment rather than something commercially available for enterprise use.

However, the point is that people do want that kind of portability, and that is what VMware’s vCloud is designed to provide. The vision is that if you have both on-premise virtual infrastructure and external in-the-cloud datacenter infrastructure both built on VMware technology, than you can run the same virtual machines/appliances anywhere you want:

So you are kind of locked to the technology (VMware) but not to a datacenter provider.

At VMworld, the scenario which was demoed had a company start a VM in external datacenter in addition to the ones they had on-premise to offload a part of the peak load. See Michael’s video here.

This is obviously just one of the scenarios. The value of common infrastructure spanning across on-premise and cloud environments goes beyond that and provides the flexibility of using the best resource available at particular time for particular task, and be able to quickly get new resources when needed or reconfigure your virtual datacenter on the fly.

The biggest problem with that, is that for VMware, this is more of a vision thing (despite a line-up of service partners promising to support the platform). It will obviously take time and execution to make it a reality.

Tags: , , , , ,

RSS My company’s main blog

My Recent Tweets

Error: Twitter did not respond. Please wait a few minutes and refresh this page.



The posts on this blog are provided “as is” with no warranties and confer no rights. The opinions expressed on this site are mine and mine alone, and do not necessarily represent those of my employer Jelastic or anyone else for that matter. All trademarks acknowledged.

© 2008-2012 Dmitry Sotnikov

%d bloggers like this: