Cloud Provider

This is the third of a series of blog posts around Cloud Computing. It gives an overview about the current Cloud Computing trends and explains how to set up a private cloud environment with Microsoft's System Center products.

In this post the different cloud solutions currently available are compared. "Cloud" solutions which are not related to infrastructure are not considered in this overview. Meaning every Software-as-a-Service or central data storage solutions like Skydrive or iCloud are out of scope.
Following you find an overview about the main infrastructure and platform cloud solutions:

VMWare Cloud Foundry Microsoft Cloud Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) / Amazon Web Services (AWS) Elastic Beanstalk IBM SmartCloud Google AppScale
Description Open-Source solution from VMWare written in Ruby Public Cloud: Windows Azure, Private Cloud: System Center Suite Amazon's cloud hosting solution SaaS/PaaS/IaaS solution from IBM Google's framework for developing highly scalable applications
Cloud Type Private Cloud Public and Private Cloud Public Cloud Public Cloud Public Cloud
Service Model PaaS IaaS, PaaS IaaS, PaaS IaaS, PaaS IaaS, PaaS
Virtualization VMWare ESX Windows Server Hyper-V, VMWare ESX, Citrix Xen Citrix Xen IBM Xen, KVM, Eucalyptus
Supported Technologies ASP .NET, Java, Spring, Ruby on Rails, Sinatra, Node.js, Grails, Groovy, Scala, PHP, Python/Django ASP .NET, Java, PHP, Ruby, Node.js Java, PHP, Ruby, Python, ASP .NET Java, PHP Java, Python, Ruby
Supported Application Servers Java Application Server IIS, Apache Tomcat IIS, IBM WebSphere, Java Application Server, Oracle WebLogic Server, Apache IBM WebSphere (custom)
Supported Databases Microsoft SQL Server, MySQL, Redis, MongoDB Microsoft SQL Server Microsoft SQL Server, MySQL, Oracle Based on DB2 and compatible with Oracle HBase, Hypertable, Apache Cassandra, MySQL Cluster, Redis
Operation Systems Linux, Windows, custom Windows, Linux, custom VHD Windows, Linux Linux Linux
Price Model Not published yet (Beta) Pay-per-use Pay-per-use Price Table Quota-based Pricing

Public Cloud Solutions
Currently, the main players in Public Clouds are Microsoft and Amazon. Amazon comes from an IaaS approach and Microsoft started with PaaS. These are also the areas in which each provider leads the market.
Amazon has in general more experience with Cloud Computing. Their public cloud offers great flexibility and full control over the infrastructure. On the other hand the patch management has to be done by the client. Amazon introduced AWS Elastic Beanstalk which provides a standardized automated deployment approach and the possibility to scale out applications and services easily. But the cloud consumer is still responsible for the underlying virtual machine and the update management.
Microsoft provides an extremely flexible PaaS solution which can be completely customized by invoking custom scripts. As long as installations and configurations are completely scripted and running on the windows environment, there are no limitations with this approach. Microsoft even takes over that patch management for the underlying operating system.

Private Cloud Solutions
In the Private Cloud sector there are at the moment just two alternatives: Microsoft's System Center solution and VMWare's Cloud Foundry. Microsoft is the only vendor which actually supports both, the private cloud and public cloud scenarios as well as a way to shift applications and services smoothly between private and public cloud data centers.
In the following posts I am going to explain in detail what Microsoft’s System Center Suite can offer and how to configure a private cloud environment.

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