Planning Your Cloud Stack: Cloud Infrastructure Providers

by Vitaly SedelnikOctober 8, 2010

In this post, I will give a short overview of the leading Cloud infrastructure providers. Cloud infrastructure is a physical and organizational environment (servers and software) for hosting and running your Cloud applications. The choice of a Cloud infrastructure provider depends on many factors, but what a customer needs to do in the first place is to identify what kind of features (auto-scaling, a Web-based control panel, advanced configuration possibilities, etc.) s/he needs and which pricing option fits best. Let’s have a closer look at the Cloud infrastructure solutions available in the market.

Cloud infrastructure providers

  • Amazon EC2

EC2 is Amazon’s Cloud computing platform that allows users to rent virtual computers to run any application. EC2 supports both Windows and Linux virtual servers, scalable deployment with geographical location control, and auto-scaling adapted to the Web site traffic. All the features are controlled via API. Users are charged per actual running time and data transfer (charges for optional features could be applied, as well). The pricing options include plans from standard instances to high-memory or high-CPU configurations. Along with EC2, Amazon offers the tightly integrated S3 (Simple Storage Service)—a Cloud storage solution (to be described in my next posts)

  • GoGrid

GoGrid is a Cloud infrastructure provider that hosts Linux and Windows virtual machines. Management is performed via the Web-based control panel, while API is available, too. Among the main features, I can mention load balancing, Cloud and dedicated servers, and Cloud storage service.

  • Other notable Cloud infrastructure providers include RackSpace, FlexiScale, Nimbus, etc.

Private infrastructure

Another option is a private cloud infrastructure that can also be utilized to build up a Cloud based on a company’s internal data center. In reality, it refers to corporate data centers adopting the technologies and practices of public Cloud infrastructures, including systems management software, cluster/grid technology, load balancing, and virtualization. Private infrastructure helps avoid the most common security pitfalls associated with other Cloud options, since the customer’s data cannot be accessed by any third party. With this option, Cloud resources are reached via Cloud management software—for example, Eucalyptus or Terracotta.

I’ve described just a few Cloud infrastructure providers, trying to highlight the industry leaders. My next post will be devoted to Cloud management provider selection. And for now, enjoy your weekend!