Welcome!

Open Web Authors: Carmen Gonzalez, Elizabeth White, Pat Romanski, PR.com Newswire, David Weinberger

Related Topics: SOA & WOA, Websphere, Oracle, Red Hat, Cloud Expo

SOA & WOA: Article

SOA & Cloud Bootcamp: Comparing Cloud Computing Providers

Live by the instance, die by the instance - support is crucial

I’ve just come back from hosting room another packed Cloud Computing Bootcamp, at the Cloud Computing Expo in Prague, Europe. We’ve done a number of these bootcamps in the last 6 months and we’re starting to see a common theme of questions bubble through. Namely, how fast is it, and what support can I expect?

SOA & Cloud Bootcamp
June 22-23, New York City

We’re starting to see a number of real alternatives pop up on the cloud infrastructure scene now. In the past year alone, we’ve seen the number of providers nearly double, starting to give the ‘grandaddy’ of cloud computing, Amazon, a run for its money.

So now we have real choice to build solutions that are no longer locked into a particular provider - assuming of course we don’t immerse ourselves too deeply in their feature list. But how can you compare providers?

The first comparison point is of course performance. This is a common question asked at our bootcamps and it is important to understand that you are never going to get the same level of throughput as you would on a bare-metal system. As it’s a virtualized world, you are only sharing resources. You may be lucky and find yourself the only process on a node and get excellent throughput. But it's very rare.

At the other extreme, you may be unlucky and find yourself continually competing for resources due to some “noisy neighbour” that is hogging the CPU/IO. The problem is that you never know who your neighbors are. The only way you can guarantee the exclusive resource is to move out of the cloud.

So when comparing providers, it's important not to try and compare too closely the performance of say a small instance at Amazon, with the small slice at Mosso, or the small server-RAM at GoGrid. It is very tempting to do it, and you would think on paper that this would be a fair way of knowing how many instances from each provider you need to host your cloud application but it is not. The only real way to tell, is to literally try it. Cloud Computing is so inexpensive that you have the luxury to try a number of providers at the same time to see which satisfies your own metrics.

The other big area of concern that you can use as a comparison point is support. Just how available are they when things go wrong. Can you reach out to someone to talk to? Can you email a helpdesk and get your query answered?

With Amazon You Are On Your Own
This is where sadly Amazon fail big time. They have their public forums, but other than paying for support specifically, there is no free help. You are on your own. Amazon take little responsibility and it’s quite common to arrive in the morning discovering an instance has been turned off due to some fault and you’ve lost all the data on those disks. At Amazon you have to build redundancy in from the start!

Just recently we had the need to move over what was historically running on a 12 bare-metal server infrastructure over to the cloud. Naturally we would need more than 12 instances, and as a rule of thumb, for every real server, you need two cloud instances. It’s not a hard and fast rule, more a guideline. For this particular client, we didn’t have existing accounts set up with the providers so we had to sign-up there and then and get moving. We architected the system, and decided that GoGrid was going to be the best provider for us at this time. However, we got sidelined instantly and had to ask technical support regarding a specific issue. On the Saturday morning the question was asked, and we have yet to get an answer to that issue. Their online accounting system was not approving new accounts over the weekend so we had to wait until the following Monday to start using GoGrid.

Mosso's Technical Support - Top-Notch
Not wishing to lose the weekend and wait, we went to our second choice, Cloud Servers from Mosso. Instant sign-up and within the hour we had our instances all spun up starting to work. We had some teething issues with Mosso. Performance isn’t terribly good on their lower end instances and you have to move far up the chain before you get anywhere near the level we expect. But their technical support is excellent and top-notch. They were on hand at all times during the weekend assisting us with some issues we had.

GoGrid’s lack of responsiveness lost them what is effectively a $20k yearly account. Such is the world of instant server provisioning - Live by the instance, die by the instance.

Support should never be underestimated. In our experience a good support network outstrips any kinks or issues a platform may have. Flexiscale in the UK is another cloud provider that has had us ring them at all hours, yet they’ve been there answering and helping us out.

Google App Engine: "Cloud It Yourself"
The big vendors have a long way to go to on their support. Amazon requires you pay. Google App Engine isn’t good at answering direct questions. Their attitude seems to be, CIY: Cloud It Yourself. But this won’t last.

While the large players have poor direct one-on-one support they have usually the most online documentation and largest attended forums. But this can usually only go so far in diagnosing a specific issue.

If your business relies on the speedy resolution of an issue from your cloud provider, then test them before you try. Send them that email out-of-hours to see how quickly and how useful the reply actually is. Try and reach someone on the phone. Look around the forums to see how many questions are left unanswered.

Get a feel for how they treat problems, because this little piece of research could make the difference from having a great cloud experience from one that could have you running back for your bare metal systems!

More Than 60 Companies Sponsored or Exhibited at Cloud Computing Expo New York April 2009
Cloud Computing Conference & Expo West and East (past two events) were sponsored by more than 60 leading global cloud computing technology providers, including: 3Tera, Active Endpoints, AppSense, AppZero, Aria Systems, CA, Inc., Certeon, Cloud.com, Composite Software, Cordys, Corporate Technologies, Cycle Computing, DataDirect Technologies, EMC,, ExactTarget, FreedomOSS, IBM, Intel, Intel SOA Products Group, iTKO, J9 Technologies, Krugle, LynuxWorks, MeettheBoss.com, Metron, Microsoft, mindSHIFT, Moderro Technologies, Mosso, Nastel, Netmagic Solutions, OpenSpan, ParaScale, Platform Computing, QuantumXML, Red Hat, RightScale, Sensedia, Sun Microsystems, Supermicro, Symantec, Tap In Systems, Tranxition, Tripwire, VIRTERA, VMware, Web Age Solutions, and Zeus Technology.

More Than 100 Sponsors and Exhibitors Expected in Silicon Valley
Upcoming Cloud Computing Conference & Expo 2009 West event, which will take place November 2-4, 2009, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Silicon Valley is estimated to have more than 100 sponsors and exhibitors.

For sponsorship and exhibit opportunities please contact Cloud Computing Expo sales department at 201 802-3021 (events at sys-con.com).

Cloud Computing Expo New York April 2009 Sold Out With Record Participation
2nd International Cloud Computing Conference & Expo, colocated with 5th International Virtualization Conference & Expo presented the most distinguished faculty of speakers on any technology conference taking place in 2009. Speakers, general session and keynote presenters included such names as: ,Ajay Anand (Yahoo!), Alan Williamson (AW 2.0 Ltd), Anthony Arrott (Trend Micro), Bill McColl (Cloudscale), Bob Quinn (3Leaf Systems), Brian H. Prince (Microsoft), Brian Zanghi (Kadient), Bryan Wade (ExactTarget), Clod Barrera (IBM), Daniel Beveridge (VIRTERA), David Bernstein (Cisco), David Bressler (Progress Software), David Douglas (Sun Microsytems), David Linthicum (Blue Mountain Labs), Doug Tidwell (IBM), Ed Sullivan (Aria Systems), Glenn Brunette (Sun Microsystems), Jeff Bauer (Forbes.com), Jeremy Geelan (SYS-CON Media), Jim Rymarczyk (IBM), Joe Gregorio (Google), Joel York (Xignite), John Barr (Yieldex), John du Pre Gauntt (Media Dojo), John Laferriere (Corporate Technologies), Jon Pyke (Cordys), JP Morgenthal (J.P. Morgenthal Blog), Kenneth Oestreich (Egenera), Kevin L. Jackson (Dataline), Kristof Kloeckner (IBM), Lucian Lipinsky de Orlov (VIRTERA), Martin Ingram (AppSense), Matt Holleran (Emergence Capital), Michael Hill (IBM), Omer Trajman (Vertica), Owen Garrett (Zeus Technology), Patrick Kerpan (CohesiveFT), Pau Garcia-Mila (eyeOS), Peter Coffee Salesforce.com), Peter Nickolov (3Tera), Phil Fritz (IBM), Prasad Rampalli (Intel), Raghavan Srinivas (Intuit), Ranjith Ramakrishnan (Cumulux), Reuven Cohen (Cloud Interoperability Forum), Rich Wolski (University of California), Ronnie Thomson (Quark), Russ Daniels (HP), Sajai Krishnan (ParaScale), Scott Wiener (Cloud9 Analytics), Simon Wardley (Canonical), Stephen Elliot (CA), Steve Milroy (OnTerra Systems), Stuart Charlton (Elastra), Thorsten von Eicken (RightScale), Tien Tzuo (Zuora), Tim Crawford (Stanford University), Vik Chaudhary (Keynote Systems), Warren Wilbee (Microsoft), Werner Vogels (Amazon.com), William Fellows (The 451 Group).

More Stories By Alan Williamson

Alan Williamson is widely recognized as an early expert on Cloud Computing, he is Co-Founder of aw2.0 Ltd, a software company specializing in deploying software solutions within Cloud networks. Alan is a Sun Java Champion and creator of OpenBlueDragon (an open source Java CFML runtime engine). With many books, articles and speaking engagements under his belt, Alan likes to talk passionately about what can be done TODAY and not get caught up in the marketing hype of TOMORROW. Follow his blog, http://alan.blog-city.com/ or e-mail him at cloud(at)alanwilliamson.org.

Comments (0)

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


@ThingsExpo Stories
The Internet of Things (IoT) is going to require a new way of thinking and of developing software for speed, security and innovation. This requires IT leaders to balance business as usual while anticipating for the next market and technology trends. Cloud provides the right IT asset portfolio to help today’s IT leaders manage the old and prepare for the new. Today the cloud conversation is evolving from private and public to hybrid. This session will provide use cases and insights to reinforce the value of the network in helping organizations to maximize their company’s cloud experience.
Cultural, regulatory, environmental, political and economic (CREPE) conditions over the past decade are creating cross-industry solution spaces that require processes and technologies from both the Internet of Things (IoT), and Data Management and Analytics (DMA). These solution spaces are evolving into Sensor Analytics Ecosystems (SAE) that represent significant new opportunities for organizations of all types. Public Utilities throughout the world, providing electricity, natural gas and water, are pursuing SmartGrid initiatives that represent one of the more mature examples of SAE. We have s...
Disruptive macro trends in technology are impacting and dramatically changing the "art of the possible" relative to supply chain management practices through the innovative use of IoT, cloud, machine learning and Big Data to enable connected ecosystems of engagement. Enterprise informatics can now move beyond point solutions that merely monitor the past and implement integrated enterprise fabrics that enable end-to-end supply chain visibility to improve customer service delivery and optimize supplier management. Learn about enterprise architecture strategies for designing connected systems tha...
IoT is still a vague buzzword for many people. In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Mike Kavis, Vice President & Principal Cloud Architect at Cloud Technology Partners, will discuss the business value of IoT that goes far beyond the general public's perception that IoT is all about wearables and home consumer services. The presentation will also discuss how IoT is perceived by investors and how venture capitalist access this space. Other topics to discuss are barriers to success, what is new, what is old, and what the future may hold.
Whether you're a startup or a 100 year old enterprise, the Internet of Things offers a variety of new capabilities for your business. IoT style solutions can help you get closer your customers, launch new product lines and take over an industry. Some companies are dipping their toes in, but many have already taken the plunge, all while dramatic new capabilities continue to emerge. In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Reid Carlberg, Senior Director, Developer Evangelism at salesforce.com, to discuss real-world use cases, patterns and opportunities you can harness today.
All major researchers estimate there will be tens of billions devices – computers, smartphones, tablets, and sensors – connected to the Internet by 2020. This number will continue to grow at a rapid pace for the next several decades. With major technology companies and startups seriously embracing IoT strategies, now is the perfect time to attend @ThingsExpo in Silicon Valley. Learn what is going on, contribute to the discussions, and ensure that your enterprise is as "IoT-Ready" as it can be!
Noted IoT expert and researcher Joseph di Paolantonio (pictured below) has joined the @ThingsExpo faculty. Joseph, who describes himself as an “Independent Thinker” from DataArchon, will speak on the topic of “Smart Grids & Managing Big Utilities.” Over his career, Joseph di Paolantonio has worked in the energy, renewables, aerospace, telecommunications, and information technology industries. His expertise is in data analysis, system engineering, Bayesian statistics, data warehouses, business intelligence, data mining, predictive methods, and very large databases (VLDB). Prior to DataArcho...
Software AG helps organizations transform into Digital Enterprises, so they can differentiate from competitors and better engage customers, partners and employees. Using the Software AG Suite, companies can close the gap between business and IT to create digital systems of differentiation that drive front-line agility. We offer four on-ramps to the Digital Enterprise: alignment through collaborative process analysis; transformation through portfolio management; agility through process automation and integration; and visibility through intelligent business operations and big data.
There will be 50 billion Internet connected devices by 2020. Today, every manufacturer has a propriety protocol and an app. How do we securely integrate these "things" into our lives and businesses in a way that we can easily control and manage? Even better, how do we integrate these "things" so that they control and manage each other so our lives become more convenient or our businesses become more profitable and/or safe? We have heard that the best interface is no interface. In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Chris Matthieu, Co-Founder & CTO at Octoblu, Inc., will discuss how thes...
Last week, while in San Francisco, I used the Uber app and service four times. All four experiences were great, although one of the drivers stopped for 30 seconds and then left as I was walking up to the car. He must have realized I was a blogger. None the less, the next car was just a minute away and I suffered no pain. In this article, my colleague, Ved Sen, Global Head, Advisory Services Social, Mobile and Sensors at Cognizant shares his experiences and insights.
We are reaching the end of the beginning with WebRTC and real systems using this technology have begun to appear. One challenge that faces every WebRTC deployment (in some form or another) is identity management. For example, if you have an existing service – possibly built on a variety of different PaaS/SaaS offerings – and you want to add real-time communications you are faced with a challenge relating to user management, authentication, authorization, and validation. Service providers will want to use their existing identities, but these will have credentials already that are (hopefully) ir...
Can call centers hang up the phones for good? Intuitive Solutions did. WebRTC enabled this contact center provider to eliminate antiquated telephony and desktop phone infrastructure with a pure web-based solution, allowing them to expand beyond brick-and-mortar confines to a home-based agent model. It also ensured scalability and better service for customers, including MUY! Companies, one of the country's largest franchise restaurant companies with 232 Pizza Hut locations. This is one example of WebRTC adoption today, but the potential is limitless when powered by IoT. Attendees will learn rea...
From telemedicine to smart cars, digital homes and industrial monitoring, the explosive growth of IoT has created exciting new business opportunities for real time calls and messaging. In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Ivelin Ivanov, CEO and Co-Founder of Telestax, will share some of the new revenue sources that IoT created for Restcomm – the open source telephony platform from Telestax. Ivelin Ivanov is a technology entrepreneur who founded Mobicents, an Open Source VoIP Platform, to help create, deploy, and manage applications integrating voice, video and data. He is the co-founder ...
The Internet of Things (IoT) promises to create new business models as significant as those that were inspired by the Internet and the smartphone 20 and 10 years ago. What business, social and practical implications will this phenomenon bring? That's the subject of "Monetizing the Internet of Things: Perspectives from the Front Lines," an e-book released today and available free of charge from Aria Systems, the leading innovator in recurring revenue management.
The Internet of Things will put IT to its ultimate test by creating infinite new opportunities to digitize products and services, generate and analyze new data to improve customer satisfaction, and discover new ways to gain a competitive advantage across nearly every industry. In order to help corporate business units to capitalize on the rapidly evolving IoT opportunities, IT must stand up to a new set of challenges.
There’s Big Data, then there’s really Big Data from the Internet of Things. IoT is evolving to include many data possibilities like new types of event, log and network data. The volumes are enormous, generating tens of billions of logs per day, which raise data challenges. Early IoT deployments are relying heavily on both the cloud and managed service providers to navigate these challenges. In her session at 6th Big Data Expo®, Hannah Smalltree, Director at Treasure Data, to discuss how IoT, Big Data and deployments are processing massive data volumes from wearables, utilities and other mach...
P2P RTC will impact the landscape of communications, shifting from traditional telephony style communications models to OTT (Over-The-Top) cloud assisted & PaaS (Platform as a Service) communication services. The P2P shift will impact many areas of our lives, from mobile communication, human interactive web services, RTC and telephony infrastructure, user federation, security and privacy implications, business costs, and scalability. In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Erik Lagerway, Co-founder of Hookflash, will walk through the shifting landscape of traditional telephone and voice s...
While great strides have been made relative to the video aspects of remote collaboration, audio technology has basically stagnated. Typically all audio is mixed to a single monaural stream and emanates from a single point, such as a speakerphone or a speaker associated with a video monitor. This leads to confusion and lack of understanding among participants especially regarding who is actually speaking. Spatial teleconferencing introduces the concept of acoustic spatial separation between conference participants in three dimensional space. This has been shown to significantly improve comprehe...
The Internet of Things is tied together with a thin strand that is known as time. Coincidentally, at the core of nearly all data analytics is a timestamp. When working with time series data there are a few core principles that everyone should consider, especially across datasets where time is the common boundary. In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Jim Scott, Director of Enterprise Strategy & Architecture at MapR Technologies, will discuss single-value, geo-spatial, and log time series data. By focusing on enterprise applications and the data center, he will use OpenTSDB as an example...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Gridstore™, the leader in software-defined storage (SDS) purpose-built for Windows Servers and Hyper-V, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 15th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Gridstore™ is the leader in software-defined storage purpose built for virtualization that is designed to accelerate applications in virtualized environments. Using its patented Server-Side Virtual Controller™ Technology (SVCT) to eliminate the I/O blender effect and accelerate applications Gridsto...